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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Parliament Overrides Yushchenko

Ukraine's parliament on Friday overrode a presidential veto of legislation that strengthens the powers of the prime minister, a move the president's supporters warned would destabilize the balance of power in the country.

Lawmakers summoned 366 votes to override President Viktor Yushchenko's veto of a bill outlining the powers of the Cabinet -- well above the 300 needed. At the same time, the parliament rejected all 42 of Yushchenko's proposals to change the bill.

The bill was supposed to help clarify the division of power between the president's office and the prime minister's Cabinet, but Yushchenko complained that instead it just strengthened Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. "This law voids the principle of 'restraint and counterbalance,'" Yushchenko's party said in a statement, calling the vote "an anti-constitutional upheaval."

Yanukovych's governing coalition holds a majority in the parliament, but it has less than the minimum 300 needed for an override. For the second time in a week, however, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's bloc joined the coalition, giving it the necessary votes. In return, the coalition agreed to support tentatively a separate bill that guarantees the rights of the political opposition.

Tymoshenko defended her party's vote, saying it was needed to help end a conflict brewing between the president's office and the Cabinet.

A Yushchenko adviser said the president would refuse to sign the Cabinet bill into law, and would instead appeal to the Constitutional Court.