Yushchenko Dissolves Rada, Calls Vote

ReutersUkrainian deputies reacting on Thursday to Yushchenko's order to dissolve the parliament and hold early elections.
KIEV — Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko decreed a Dec. 7 date for early elections Thursday after dissolving the parliament.

Yushchenko ordered the parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, dissolved Wednesday and called for new elections after the pro-Western coalition with his estranged Orange Revolution partner Yulia Tymoshenko collapsed and efforts to forge a news alliance ended in acrimony.

The parliamentary vote will be the third in as many years, adding to debilitating political turmoil in a country battered by the global financial crisis.

Both are seen as likely rivals in the 2010 presidential vote.

Opinion polls show that Yushchenko's party is likely to lose parliament seats in the December vote. Tymoshenko, who has fought to revive their coalition and retain power as prime minister, says the president's only motive for dissolving the parliament is to remove her from her job.

Tymoshenko has said dissolving the parliament before late November is unconstitutional and has vowed to challenge the decision. Her party has threatened protests.

Tymoshenko has also suggested holding a new presidential election alongside any early parliamentary vote, hinting that she would run.

Yushchenko pulled out of the nine-month-old coalition with Tymoshenko last month, after she sided with the opposition to adopt a series of laws that trim his powers.

Yushchenko has also accused Tymoshenko of selling out to Russia.

Yushchenko has harshly criticized Russia for its August war in Georgia and assailed Tymoshenko for her reluctance to condemn Moscow's actions. Tymoshenko says she opposed the war but calls for balanced ties with Russia.