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Ukraine Parliament Backs Changes to End Poll Crisis

Date: December 08, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's parliament approved on Wednesday a series of laws and constitutional changes aimed at resolving the post-election crisis which has pushed the ex-Soviet state into turmoil.

A total of 402 members in the 450-seat assembly, sufficient to approve amendments to the post-Soviet constitution, backed changes to the electoral law to prevent a recurrence of fraud which hit last month's presidential run-off vote.

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich was declared winner of that election, prompting huge street demonstrations in support of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko. The Supreme Court annulled the result and a new election has been called for Dec. 26.

"This is an act of consolidation and reconciliation, an act which demonstrates that Ukraine is united," speaker Volodymyr Lytvy told the chamber.

He and outgoing President Leonid Kuchma held aloft the documents approved moments earlier by the chamber. By the same vote, members also approved changes to the constitution to reduce powers of the president and increase those of parliament.

Regions will also get additional powers to reduce tensions between the nationalist west and Russian-speaking east of the country.

Kuchma had appeared in parliament just before the vote, urging members to approve the legislation for the benefit of the country. He said he had accepted the resignation of Ukraine's prosecutor general, one of several opposition demands.
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