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Ukrainian President Dissolves Parliament, Orders New Elections

President Viktor Yushchenko (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) April 2, 2007 (RFE/RL)  -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has signed a decree dissolving parliament and ordering new elections, RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service reported.

Yushchenko made the announcement in an address on television today after hours of talks with parliamentary leaders failed to resolve a political standoff in the country.

MORE: Coverage in Ukrainian from RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service.

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"My actions were dictated by the urgent necessity to save the state, its sovereignty, and territorial integrity, and to ensure the constitution of Ukraine, the rights and liberties of people and citizens are upheld,” Yushchenko said during his address. “I would like to underline that this is not only my right -- it is my duty."

"I am calling on the Ukrainian people to make a fair, conscious, and responsible choice which will end this stage of political conflict and will open a new perspective for Ukraine," he added.

The president accused the parliamentary majority led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych of seeking to expand its power base in violation of the constitution, and of making decisions that violated the law.

(with material from agency reports)

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