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Ukrainian Leader Seeks Funds For Snap Election

Yushchenko (left) and Tymoshenko
KYIV (Reuters) -- President Viktor Yushchenko has asked Ukraine's prime minister to come up with funds to organize the snap election he called after accusing her of breaking up the country's "Orange" government team.

Yushchenko dissolved parliament this week and called a new election to the chamber for December 7. He blamed Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko for the break-up of a coalition linked to Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution.

Tymoshenko, who backed the president through weeks of mass protests in 2004 that swept him to power, has yet to offer any comment on the election -- the third in as many years in the former Soviet state.

The president told Tymoshenko to convene a cabinet meeting on October 11 to allocate the equivalent of nearly $85 million for the poll as the dissolved assembly could no longer do so.

"Funds cannot be allocated by its authority has ceased ahead of the normal time frame," he said in a letter.

"The government is therefore obliged to take a decision on allocating funds from Ukraine's budget reserve fund to organize and stage a new early election to parliament."

The president also urged the prime minister to use the meeting to discuss the effects of the global financial crisis on the country and submit conclusions to a meeting of Ukraine's National Security Council meeting on October 13.

Central-bank intervention has cushioned a tumble by Ukraine's hryvnya currency and the bank has also boosted its refinancing lending in view of worries about the banking sector's ability to pay off debts.

The president had earlier said he expected parliament to authorize election funds. But the Verkhovna Rada has been unable to debate the issue as Tymoshenko's supporters have charged the speaker's chair to halt proceedings.

Experts have expressed different opinions on whether the chamber has the authority to sit. Some of Tymoshenko's allies say they may challenge the dissolution decree in the courts.

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

Yushchenko twice named Tymoshenko prime minister but has been constantly at odds with her almost since his election.

The president was enraged by her tactical voting alliance with former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in passing legislation, subsequently repealed, that cut presidential powers.

All three politicians are assessing their chances in a presidential election due to take place by early 2010.

Polls suggest no group stands to gain from the December poll, with support of about 20 percent each for Tymoshenko and Yanukovych and less than 10 percent for Yushchenko.