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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Early Vote Sought in Ukraine

KIEV -- Allies of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko joined forces Tuesday to press for an early parliamentary election and to scrap a constitutional reform that diminished his powers.

Yushchenko came to power after the Orange Revolution, but has seen his popularity plunge over two years in office and is locked in a power struggle with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

His allies -- the Our Ukraine faction and a bloc headed by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko -- led the mass street protests in 2004 but are now in the opposition, controlling about 200 votes in the 450-seat parliament.

"We, together with Tymoshenko's bloc, agreed ... that an early parliamentary election is crucial," Our Ukraine leader Vyacheslav Kyrylenko told reporters.

The parties signed a formal agreement, he said.

"We have been backing an early election for a long time. ... We understand that political chaos and turmoil initiated by the ruling coalition can be stopped only by an early election."

Yushchenko, once a darling of Western investors and many in Ukraine due to his liberal views, has proved a disappointment for many after making patchy progress on reforms while his allies were often embroiled in public spats and corruption scandals.

He defeated Yanukovych in the pivotal presidential election in 2004 -- only after the protests forced a revote -- but was forced to appoint him as prime minister last August after his allies failed to form a government.