Early Vote For Ukraine Stymied

KIEV Ukraine's feuding leaders intensified their power struggle Saturday, with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko seeking to undo President Viktor Yushchenko's decision to hold early parliamentary elections.

Election officials refused to start preparations for the early vote after a court suspended Yushchenko's decree at Tymoshenko's request. But Yushchenko later appealed the suspension, paving the way for a protracted legal struggle.

Yushchenko has the power to dissolve parliament and call an early election, unless a court overrules his decision.

Last week, he ordered parliament dissolved and set the vote for Dec. 7, following the collapse of his pro-Western coalition with Tymoshenko, his estranged ally from the 2004 Orange Revolution.

But Tymoshenko, who is determined to retain her job and avoid the third election in as many years, has vowed the vote will not take place.

Kiev's District Administrative Court suspended Yushchenko's decree while it considers an appeal by Tymoshenko's party, Central Election Commission spokeswoman Zoya Sharikova said.

Yushchenko's office appealed that suspension to a higher court, saying the order had no authority since Yushchenko fired the judge before he made the ruling. It was unclear when the appeal will be heard.