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Yushchenko Party Aims For Constitutional Changes

Viktor Yushchenko (file photo) (epa) 16 January 2006 -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's party says it will formally propose that parliament revise controversial constitutional changes that weaken the presidency in favor of the legislature.

Roman Bezsmertnyi, the leader of the Our Ukraine party, told a rally in the western city of Lviv today that the party will be ready to present parliament with a new version of the constitution "on the first day that it meets" after the 26 March parliamentary elections.

The revisions transfer to parliament the power to name the prime minister and to form the government. Their adoption in December 2004 was part of a compromise to end the Orange Revolution standoff between then-opposition leader Yushchenko and the ruling regime.

The president, whose party voted for the changes at the time, now says the reforms were adopted without sufficient public discussion.