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Ukraine parliament approves Constitutional Court judges, new PM

[JURIST] The Verkhovna Rada [official website], the Ukraine parliament, on Friday swore in 11 judges [RIA Novosti report] who will compose the Ukrainian Constitutional Court [official website]. Judges are nominated to the court by parliament, the president and by an association of judges. The judges were installed after parliament elected [RIA Novosti reports] its share of judges, and the court now has enough judges to operate for the first time since last year. In addition to failing to nominate candidates, parliament had also refused to swear in judges nominated by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko [official website; BBC profile].

Also Friday, parliament formally approved Yushchenko's nomination of political rival Viktor Yanukovych [BBC profile] to serve as the country's prime minister. Yushchenko accepted the nomination [JURIST report] Thursday, ending weeks of speculation that Yushchenko's rejection of the nomination would prompt a constitutional crisis [JURIST report]. Yushchenko and Yanukovych were fierce rivals in the 2004 presidential election [JURIST report], the results of which were invalidated by the country's Supreme Court [JURIST report] following fraud allegations. Yushchenko was sworn in [JURIST report] as president after winning a re-vote. Yushchenko decided to accept Yanukovych as prime minister after the latter agreed to sign a National Unity Pact [press release] that preserves certain pro-Western elements of the president's agenda, including amending the Ukrainian Constitution [text] to include a "checks and balances" system and taking steps toward joining the European Union. Had Yushchenko refused to accept Yanukovych as prime minister, he would have been forced to dissolve parliament and call for new elections. Reuters has more.

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