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Ukraine's Parliament Adjourns Without No-Confidence Motion

Yushchenko failed to push a no-confidence motion through the legislature today (file photo) 30 November 2004 -- Ukraine's parliament ended its session today without adopting a motion of no-confidence in the government as proposed by opposition deputies led by presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko.

Ukraine has been in political turmoil since the 21 November presidential runoff that saw Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych declared the winner and sparked protests involving tens of thousands of opposition supporters who felt the election was rigged.

Yushchenko supporters broke through a fence surrounding parliament during today's debate during an emergency session, chanting "Yushchenko! Yushchenko!" before they were forced back.

Overtures From Yanukovych?

Reports, meanwhile, indicate that Yanukovych might be searching for a compromise.

Speaking in Kyiv today, Yanukovych offered to let his rival become prime minister in a new coalition government if Yushchenko would in turn recognize him as Ukrainian president.

"I am ready to offer Viktor Andriyevych [Yushchenko] the post of prime minister, which will in fact become the top position of duty in our country under the new constitution, so he can form a government together with a coalition," Yanukovych said.

The offer followed Yanukovych's statement yesterday that he is willing to agree to a partial new presidential vote -- in line with opposition demands -- but only in two regions where mass fraud is proven to have occurred.

"If there is proof of falsification or that something was against the law and there is no doubt about it and if the experts have no doubts about it, I will accept that decision," Yanukovych said.

However, the initiatives have not drawn a positive response. Yushchenko has ignored the offer of a repeat vote and rejected outright the prime ministerial post.

Much To Resolve

Parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn said debate on the no-confidence motion will resume tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the governor of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, Anatoliy Bliznyuk, said today there will be no referendum on autonomy on 5 December, as had been reported.

Bliznyuk said a referendum will still be held but at a later date.

The Supreme Court also resumed hearings today on opposition complaints that the election results were rigged in Yanukovych's favor. Under Ukrainian law, the court cannot rule on the overall result but can declare results invalid in individual districts.

That decision is expected sometime in the next several days.

Yesterday, outgoing President Leonid Kuchma suggested that a new election could be held to defuse the crisis.

Ukraine's central bank announced today that it is forbidding commercial banks to make early deposit withdrawals and it set limits on cash and noncash foreign-currency transactions to preserve stability during the country's current political crisis.

EU And Russian Moves

Fears that Ukraine could split have spurred diplomatic efforts.

EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana is expected to return to Ukraine tomorrow to try to help mediate the situation, possibly with Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski. Solana was in Kyiv on 26 November.

Much of the international community -- including the United States and the European Union -- has expressed similar doubts about the fairness of the election.

Russian State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov predicted today that Ukraine is headed for breakup or bloodshed over the disputed presidential election. Gryzlov last week took part in attempts to mediate between pro-Russian Yanukovych and the West-leaning Yushchenko.


[Click here for more RFE/RL coverage of Ukraine's disputed presidential election.]

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