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Ukrainian court, parliament debate election crisis; regions call for autonomy

[JURIST] Prompted by opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko, the Ukrainian parliament debated the country's presidential poll crisis Tuesday, but did not adopt a motion of no-confidence in Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who was also the winner of the disputed election. The speaker of parliament said the debate was getting too confrontational and adjourned the debate until Wednesday. Also Tuesday, the Ukrainian Supreme continued its hearings into allegations of massive vote fraud. A decision in the case may come by the end of the week. BBC News has more.

Meanwhile, supporters of Yanukovych in Ukraine's eastern regions have responded to the crisis by calling for autonomy. As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, the Donetsk regional legislature has scheduled a referendum for Sunday to determine whether voters support making the province a republic. Reacting to the threats of regional autonomy, Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmak said that "no matter what the circumstances, the Ukrainian armed forces will guarantee the stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine." AFP has more. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma also warned against separation, saying that "it is not allowed to separate Ukraine under whatever circumstances." Additionally, the Ukrainian Security Council said Tuesday that it has opened a criminal investigation into threats to Ukraine's territorial integrity by officials and other people who "publicly declare the necessity of splitting the southeast regions from Ukraine." JURIST's Paper Chase has ongoing coverage of the situation in Ukraine.

9:42 AM ET - According to this post on Kyiv-based journalist Veronica Khokhlova's weblog, the Ukrainian parliament voted Tuesday to annul its Saturday decision declaring the election invalid (reported here on JURIST's Paper Chase). A similar report can be found on a weblog maintained by a writer for the Kyiv Post.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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