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Ukraine's President Says No Elections This Year

President Viktor Yushchenko
WARSAW (Reuters) -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has said an early parliamentary election he called following the collapse of the ruling coalition could no longer take place this year.

"We have a few issues to solve over the next weeks. It is obvious that organizing an early election anytime around Christmas would be unwise," Yushchenko said in an interview published in the Warsaw daily "Rzeczpospolita." "The most important thing is to undertake anticrisis actions and approve the 2009 budget. The budget should include a line referring to the financing of the election."

Yushchenko, who was in Poland on November 11 to attend Independence Day celebrations, called the election in October after abandoning attempts to put together a workable governing coalition in parliament.

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, his ally from the 2004 Orange Revolution and now his rival, opposed the election on grounds that Ukraine's economy was being battered by the world financial crisis.

Parliament this month approved a package of legislation to bolster the financial and banking system and pave the way for a $16.5 billion International Monetary Fund loan.

Yushchenko initially set the election for December 7 but, faced with the refusal of the government and parliament to finance the poll, postponed it for a week.

But no decree was issued and it had become clear in recent weeks that no election could take place before the New Year holiday and Eastern Orthodox Christmas on January 6.

Analysts now say the most likely date for an early election would be sometime in the first months of next year.

The election call followed the collapse in September of an "orange" coalition made up of groups led by the president and prime minister and linked to the 2004 mass protests against election fraud that brought pro-Western politicians to power.

The president has made Tymoshenko prime minister twice, but the two have long been at odds over a wide variety of issues.

The election would have been the third in as many years in the ex-Soviet state. Prominent Ukrainian politicians are also assessing their chances in a presidential election due by early 2010.

RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, And Moldova Report

RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, And Moldova Report

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