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Ukraine's Parliament Clears Path For New Election

7 December 2004 -- The Ukrainian parliament has adopted constitutional and electoral changes aimed at resolving the country's political crisis.

Parliament had been debating opposition-proposed changes to the election law to help prevent fraud in the Supreme Court-mandated late-December repeat of the poll.

The chamber, the Verkhovna Rada, had signaled eventual approval earlier today before breaking for a brief recess amid attemps to pave the way for a repeat of November's disputed presidential runoff election.

Outgoing President Leonid Kuchma previously said he had agreed to dismiss the Central Election Commission and support electoral-law reform -- two key opposition demands.

But a sticking point had been agreement on the opposition demand that Kuchma dismiss the government of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, and opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko continued to reject constitutional changes to reduce presidential powers.


[For more on the current political crisis in Ukraine, see RFE/RL's dedicated "Ukraine's Disputed Election" webpage.]