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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yushchenko Warns Parliament

ZAGREB, Croatia -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko threatened on Thursday to force parliamentary elections in 60 days if lawmakers did not pass a raft of bills.

He and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych have agreed to hold early elections on Sept. 30, but lawmakers have been obstructing the bills necessary to call the elections. Yushchenko gave the parliament until midnight Thursday to pass the legislation.

"If a solution is not reached, my party and [Yulia] Tymoshenko's party will meet and formalize our withdrawal from the parliament," Yushchenko said. "Then elections will take place automatically in 60 days."

In Kiev, allies of Yanukovych accused Yushchenko of acting illegally and said he did not have the 151 resignations necessary to dissolve the parliament and force elections.

"It is impossible to hold any early elections without the package of bills adopted by the parliament," lawmaker Taras Chronovil said.

Ukraine has been embroiled in a political crisis stemming from constant disputes between the two leaders since Yanukovych's coalition won elections in 2006.

Last week, Yushchenko fired the prosecutor general, and the Interior Ministry sent police to surround the prosecutor's office to prevent his eviction.

Yushchenko then seized control of the ministry's forces and deployed units to Kiev -- but Interior Minister Vasyl Tsushko refused to recognize the order.

The moves raised fears that weeks of arguments between Yushchenko and Yanukovych could trigger violence.

Tensions eased Sunday after the president and prime minister agreed to hold early elections on Sept. 30.

"Ukraine is carrying out a plan to get out of the political crisis. It is up to the parliament to implement the plan," Yushchenko said.

"Elections on Sept. 30 will be key to exiting the crisis and it will help Ukraine emerge stronger."

Lawmakers were to vote Wednesday on the last in a series of bills necessary to call the early elections but the proceedings were interrupted by a bomb threat and mutual recriminations and disorder, with each side accusing the other of trying to sabotage the agreement.