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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yushchenko Delays Elections And Asks Court to Drop Case

KIEV -- The almost monthlong political stalemate between Ukraine's president and prime minister worsened Thursday, after the president's office tried to close the door on the Constitutional Court's involvement in resolving the crisis.

In a surprise move, President Viktor Yushchenko announced late Wednesday that he was canceling his April 2 decree to dissolve the parliament and call early elections for May 27 -- and replacing it with a new decree that does the same thing but postpones elections until June 24.

The earlier decree "is no longer in force," said Volodymyr Shapoval, Yushchenko's representative to the court. "This means that, in our opinion, there is no basis for continuing consideration before the Constitutional Court."

The legal maneuvering by Yushchenko came as the 18-judge panel entered the first full day of its deliberations into the legality of the presidential order. The move seemed aimed at protecting the president amid concerns that the court would rule his decree unconstitutional; at the very least, it could buy the president more time by forcing his rivals to mount a new appeal.

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych cut short a trip to Uzbekistan when he learned of the new order, and his allies in the parliament accused the president of trying to shove aside the court.

"Today, the actions of the Constitutional Court were attacked to make it impossible to rule on the April 2 decree," said Raisa Bohatyryova, head of Yanukovych's faction in the parliament.

Yanukovych was pinning his hopes on the Constitutional Court declaring the president's decree unconstitutional.

Both Yushchenko and Yanukovych had pledged to follow the court's ruling, but the president's parliamentary allies have expressed doubt over whether the court -- tarnished by allegations of corruption -- could issue a just verdict.