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Rival rallies filled central Kyiv on March 31 (RFE/RL) April 2, 2007 -- President Viktor Yushchenko is expected today to hold talks with the leaders of parliamentary factions in a bid to resolve Ukraine's political crisis.

Yushchenko has said that if the negotiations fail, he will dissolve the Verkhovna Rada, leading to early elections.

Yushchenko has accused pro-Russian groups in parliament of engaging in anticonstitutional activity by inducing lawmakers from blocs that support the president to switch sides. He has demanded that this activity be halted.

Supporters of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who is seen as friendlier to Russia than Yushchenko, oppose the threat to dissolve parliament and have demanded that Yushchenko allow the current government and legislature to remain in office.

Several thousand people are demonstrating today against his threat to dissolve parliament.

Ukraine on March 31 saw rival rallies between supporters of the president and backers of the prime minister.

(AFP)
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