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Ukraine: Reform Parties Obstruct No-Confidence Vote

Kyiv, 24 April 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Deputies of Ukrainian reformist parties set up blockades in parliament today in an attempt to prevent a no-confidence vote against the government of Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko. News agencies report that some 40 deputies blocked the way to the speaker's rostrum, while others engaged in fistfights with Communist deputies.

Outside parliament, some 2,000 people demonstrated in support of the government.

Parliament has decided to delay until Thursday (26 April) the no-confidence vote proposed by the Communist Party. The vote was originally expected this afternoon.

Yushchenko, a former central banker named to lead the government in late 1999, is credited with reviving economic reforms in Ukraine. His government last year achieved the first signs of economic progress since independence in 1991.

Yushchenko's policies have been opposed by the Communists, centrists, and business groups, all of whom are critical of economic reforms.

Yushchenko said in Athens, where he is on an official visit, that the parliament has chosen "a democratic path" in the effort to remove his government from office.