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Ukrainian Lawmakers Propose Suspending Interior Minister

Yuriy Lutsenko (standing) has been a key ally of President Yushchenko (file photo) (AFP) November 2, 2006 -- Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, today proposed suspending the interior minister -- a key ally of President Viktor Yushchenko -- for two months as part of a corruption probe.

Parliament set up a commission to investigate newspaper allegations of widespread corruption in the Interior Ministry and proposed that the government suspend Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko for two months.

The nonbinding move was initiated by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions.

Lutsenko was a leading force in the mass street protests that helped Yushchenko defeat Yanukovych in the rerun of the 2004 presidential election. He has led high-profile corruption investigations against Yanukovych's allies.

The proposal to suspend Lutsenko came two days after parliament accepted the resignations of another two Yushchenko allies from the government. They had asked to step down after Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc said it was moving into the opposition.

(compiled from agency reports)