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Ukraine PM Ordered To Finance Election She Opposes

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko
KYIV (Reuters) -- Ukraine's top security body has ordered Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's government to allocate some $85 million to finance an early parliamentary election that she opposes.

President Viktor Yushchenko, who accuses the prime minister of destroying the ruling "Orange" coalition, summoned the National Security and Defense Council, which demanded the government transfer 417 million hryvnyas to election officials.

The council's deputy secretary, Marina Stavnichuk, said the premier, present at the meeting, had been told to provide the funds by the end of the day. But as the deadline passed, officials said nothing of what measures might be taken if the government failed to comply.

Yushchenko has long been at odds with Tymoshenko, his ally from mass 2004 Orange Revolution protests against election fraud which swept his pro-Western team to power.

He initially said parliament should approve the funds, but after the prime minister's allies blockaded the rostrum for two days, he told Tymoshenko to provide the money.

Yushchenko dissolved parliament last week and called a December 7 parliamentary election, the third in as many years, after saying he had abandoned attempts to form a coalition.

Suspension Of Dissolution

The prime minister had offered what she described as concessions to avoid an election and says she believes no poll will take place.

Opening the council's session, Yushchenko said officials should be united in deciding "what authorities must do to uphold the constitution, oversee finance, and allow voters to express their will and form a mandate to resolve the crisis."

Tymoshenko's allies at the weekend secured a suspension of the president's dissolution decree through a court decision. But an appeal court was examining the case on October 13 and Stavnichuk said she believed it would overturn the first ruling.

Tymoshenko says it is irresponsible to hold an election amid the worldwide financial crisis which is also buffeting Ukraine.

The central bank on October 13 capped banks' assets, curbing their borrowing and lending, in a move analysts said would help stabilize the financial system and prevent major shocks.

The Orange coalition unraveled when the president's Our Ukraine party broke links with Tymoshenko's bloc last month.

Yushchenko, who has twice named Tymoshenko prime minister, was enraged by her tactical voting alliance last month with ex-Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in passing legislation, subsequently repealed, that cut presidential powers.

RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, And Moldova Report

RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, And Moldova Report

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