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Ukraine's Self-Destructive Spiral

Ukraine's farcical and indecipherable political standoff continues, after the ruling coalition collapsed yesterday.

One of the reasons for the endless bickering between the Ukrainian president and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko -- apart from the rivalry, personality clashes, and vested interests -- is the failed constitutional reform, which was enacted in 2004 and to which Viktor Yushchenko agreed under pressure from intermediaries such as Javier Solana.

The constitutional reform in fact created a parliamentary-presidential system, weakening the position of the president somewhat and giving more executive powers to the prime minister. Since then there's been tension. Neither Yushchenko nor Tymoshenko want to play second fiddle.

Until Ukrainians decide once and for all who's in charge of the country, this self-destructive spiral is bound to continue.

-- Irena Chalupa

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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