Yanukovych to call vote if coalition ruled illegal

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March 26, 2010, 5:29 p.m. | Politics — by Reuters


Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said on Friday he would call a snap parliamentary election if a court ruled that the creation of the ruling coalition broke constitutional rules. Parliament amended the rules on forming coalitions earlier this month, paving the way for the new government of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov -- a close ally of Yanukovych who was elected to the top post last month.

Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a bitter rival of Yanukovych in the presidential election, had called the amendment a "constitutional coup d'etat".

"If the decision of the Constitutional Court will be that the coalition was formed illegally, then I will take a decision on a snap election," Yanukovych told a delegation from the European Parliament.

"I will never go down the path of breaching the constitution that is in force."

Yanukovych said the Constitutional Court had already begun reviewing the case. It was unclear when it could issue a ruling. On urgent matters the court rules within weeks but on matters deemed less urgent it can take months or even longer.

Under the old rules of forming a coalition, parties in parliament had to agree as a whole to join a coalition. Parliament voted to change that to allow individual members of parties to join a coalition in the hope of making up an overall majority.

Yanukovych's supporters in parliament found themselves in a difficult position after his election victory as they were unable to woo enough parties to form a new coalition that would oust Tymoshenko.

But after the change, they were able to muster a slender majority of 235 members from the 450-seat assembly by poaching several supporters of former President Viktor Yushchenko.
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