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Ukraine delays parliamentary poll

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has said that early parliamentary elections will be held on June 24, a month later than the date he set in a decree that sparked a political crisis in Kiev.

"In order to hold elections as soon as possible and find a democratic, political resolution to the problems in Ukraine... I am signing an order to hold early elections for Ukraine's parliament on June 24," Mr Yushchenko said in a televised address.

On April 2 the Western-leaning President called for early elections, sparking a paralysing feud with arch-rival Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

He accused the pro-Russian ruling coalition led by Mr Yanukovych of illegally poaching deputies in parliament.

The announcement sparked street demonstraions by Mr Yanukovych's supporters in Kiev.

Mr Yanukovych's coalition can currently muster about 250 votes in the legislature, 50 short of a threshold of 300 needed to make changes to the constitution and possibly oust Mr Yushchenko.

-AFP




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