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Ukrainian Parliament Due To Meet

7 December 2004 -- Ukraine's parliament is due to meet today amid the country's continuing political crisis.

Under a proposed agreement, Parliament had been expected to pass opposition-proposed changes to the electoral law to prevent fraud in the December 26 rerun presidential election, along with government-proposed constitutional changed that would trim presidential powers.

That deal appeared in jeopardy today. After six hours of European and Russian mediated talks earlier today, outgoing President Leonid Kuchma said he had agreed to fire the central election commission and support electoral law reform -- two key opposition demands.

"[We] agreed on the need to introduce amendments to the law on electing Ukraine's president that would envisage introducing a mechanism for conducting transparent and fair elections, making abuse and fraud impossible," Kuchma said.

But there was no agreement on the opposition demand that Kuchma dismiss the government of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, and the opposition continued to reject constitutional changes to reduce presidential powers.

Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko says that through the constitutional reforms, Kuchma and his allies want to weaken the presidency, fearing his victory.

The Supreme Court ordered the December 26 rerun between Yushchenko and Yanukovych after canceling Yanukovych's victory in last month's runoff election because of fraud.


[To see an archive of RFE/RL's full coverage and analysis since the Ukrainian crisis began, click here.]

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