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Ukraine justice minister says no-confidence vote illegal

[JURIST] Ukrainian Justice Minister Serhiy Holovaty said in a statement Thursday that the Ukrainian parliament's dismissal of the government [BBC report] earlier this week was illegal because the vote did not meet the necessary two-thirds majority. On Tuesday Holovaty warned that the country had been plunged into "legal chaos" [JURIST report] by the move, although Thursday he appeared to back away from this, saying that if the country's Supreme Court did not overturn the decision, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko [JURIST news archive] would ensure that the country's laws were observed. Yushchenko himself demanded Thursday that parliament cancel its earlier decision, taken because officials had agreed to pay much higher prices for gas imported from Russia. He spoke at a cabinet meeting and tore up a memorandum of cooperation between his government and the opposition, accusing the Ukrainian Parliament [official website] of trying to destabilize the country. A top Yushchenko official also hinted once again at the possibility of holding a national referendum on the constitution [JURIST report] that could return to Yushchenko powers that were given back to parliament January 1 as part of the deal which brought the "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine to a successful and peaceful conclusion last year. Thursday's Financial Times has more; RIA Novosti has local coverage.

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