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Ukrainian PM Says No Elections Before Court Ruling

Yanukovych (left) meeting with supporters in Kyiv on April 3 (AFP) KYIV, April 4, 2007 (RFE/RL)-- Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said today the ruling coalition and the government will not prepare for early elections until the Constitutional Court rules on the issue, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported.

Parliament has asked the court to examine the legitimacy of President Viktor Yushchenko's April 2 decree to dissolve the legislature and hold new parliamentary elections next month.

"The only way to resolve this issue whether the president's decree on early elections is constitutional is for the Constitutional Court to make a ruling on it," Yanukovych told a cabinet meeting in Kyiv.

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Yushchenko ordered the dissolution of parliament after accusing lawmakers close to Yanukovych of illegally encouraging presidential allies to switch sides.

Yanukovych has described the decree as a "fatal mistake" and has called on lawmakers to continue working.

He told the cabinet today that the government is ready for compromise if Yushchenko repeals the decree.

Yushchenko told Yanukovych on April 3 that he stands by his decision.

In an article published today in the "Financial Times," Yushchenko said the political crisis needs a "firm and immediate response."

Several thousand protesters demonstrated in Kyiv today against Yushchenko's order to dissolve parliament.

(with material from agency reports)