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Ukraine constitutional standoff continues as parliament fails to approve elections bill

[JURIST] Constitutional gridlock continued in Ukraine on Thursday, as the country's parliament [official website, in Ukrainian] again failed to approve a bill that would set a new date for controversial parliamentary elections. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko [official website; JURIST news archive] and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych [BBC profile] finally reached an agreement [JURIST report] on Sunday to hold the elections on September 30, giving parliament just two days to approve the change, but parliament has thusfar been unable to do so. Meanwhile Interior Minister Vasyl Tsushko, who has played a large role in the latest episodes of the political standoff between Yushchenko and the current government, suffered a heart attack on Wednesday [AP report]. Tsushko sent police to prevent the removal of the Ukrainian prosecutor-general [JURIST report] last week after Yushchenko ordered his removal.

Ukraine has been mired in a major constitutional crisis since Yushchenko issued a decree dissolving parliament [JURIST report] on April 2, anticipating early elections. After Yanukovych and parliament filed a legal challenge before the Constitutional Court of Ukraine [official website; JURIST news archive], Yushchenko dismissed three Constitutional Court judges for alleged oath and ethics violations [JURIST report] and appointed replacement judges [JURIST report] without consulting either Yanukovych or the Justice Ministry. AFP has more.

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