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Ukraine opposition says Constitutional Court 'a farce'-1

20:26 | 17/ 04/ 2007

(adds paragraphs 2, 4-20)

KIEV, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has described a Constitutional Court session reviewing President Yushchenko's decree dissolving parliament as "a farce," and urged the president to recall the judges appointed on his quota.

Viktor Yushchenko signed the decree to dissolve the Supreme Rada April 2 after 11 opposition members defected to the ruling coalition. The parliament and government, dominated by the prime minister, refused to obey the order and referred it to the Constitutional Court.

"The Constitutional Court in its present form cannot and must not be an arbiter," she said.

She said the crisis can only be resolved by going to the country, not a handful of people who are neither free nor unbiased.

"We will not accept the decision of this Constitutional Court, because it cannot be legal," Tymoshenko said.

Ukraine's Constitutional Court said earlier Tuesday it decided to study a presidential decree ordering the dissolution of parliament nonstop, from April 17 through 27, until a final ruling is passed.

The decision was upheld by 11 out of 18 judges.

Yushchenko said the political crisis in Ukraine is unlikely to be solved through the use of force after negotiations with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso Tuesday.

He said he was ready to accept any ruling made by the Constitutional Court, but stressed that the ongoing crisis could ultimately only be resolved through early parliamentary elections.

"Ukraine will find a political, democratic solution to this situation," Yushchenko said.

Barroso said the EC favored stability and democracy in Ukraine, but in the event of political instability Ukraine-EU negotiations on a new partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA) could be delayed.

The current PCA agreement runs out in 2008.

Ukraine's prime minister said earlier Tuesday he was not ruling out the possibility of impeachment if the Court finds the presidential decree in breach of the Constitution.

"If the Constitutional Court rules against the president, this will have negative consequences for President [Viktor] Yushchenko, including impeachment," Viktor Yanukovych said in Strasbourg following his meeting with Rene van der Linden, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

Yanukovych told parliamentarians in the Council of Europe that hope for a political solution to the crisis was still alive.

"[The solution] is obvious for the government and parliament - acting in accordance with the Constitution and abiding by a Constitutional Court ruling while continuing negotiations," he said in his address to the PACE.

He said the conflicting parties in Ukraine could reach a compromise soon.

"We are continuing our dialogue and search for a compromise with President Yushchenko, and we are hopeful that we will soon find a joint solution," the Ukrainian premier told European parliamentarians

Both Yushchenko and Yanukovych said previously they were ready to abide by the court decision, whatever it may be. Yushchenko told journalists Monday he would not backtrack on his decree, but admitted there was a possibility of delaying elections.

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