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Ukrainian President Holds Crisis Talks

Yushchenko speaking on April 2 (ITAR-TASS) KYIV, April 2, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is holding consultations with leaders of parliamentary factions in a bid to resolve the country's political crisis, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported.

Yushchenko has threatened to dissolve the legislature if the talks fail, leading to early elections.

In his opening speech, he said some political forces are seeking to usurp power in Ukraine.

"Essentially, there is a constitutional imbalance emerging in the country," he said. "The balance between different branches of power is being lost. And a creeping, distinct usurpation of power in single hands is under way. Finally, the democratic ideals and values of society are being put into question."

Yushchenko has accused pro-Moscow groups in parliament of encouraging lawmakers from blocs that support him to switch sides. He says this activity goes against the constitution and must be halted.

Several thousand people today gathered in central Kyiv to protest Yushchenko's threat to dissolve th Verkhovna Rada, which is controlled by a pro-Russian coalition.

On March 31, Kyiv saw rival rallies between supporters of the president and backers of pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

(with material from agency reports)

RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, And Moldova Report

RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, And Moldova Report

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