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  Tuesday, August 20, 2019
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Viktor Yushchenko said Wednesday he was planning to call a national referendum on amending the Constitution to limit parliament's powers
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said Wednesday he was planning to call a national referendum on amending the Constitution to limit parliament's powers. "A new version of the Constitution should be adopted through a national referendum in the near future," Yushchenko said. "The current situation is in effect unconstitutional," said the president, whose three orders to dissolve parliament in spring were defied by the Supreme Rada. The legislature continued its sessions after the pro-Western leader and his longtime rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, struck a deal to hold early parliamentary elections on September 30 in a bid to end months of political wrangling. The Supreme Rada, dominated by Yanukovych's allies, only formally closed its sessions Wednesday until September 4, with a proviso that it could convene any time if required. Yushchenko proposed reducing the legislature' current five-year term and the number of members, and curtailing lawmakers' immunity. He also suggested that the country probably needed a bicameral parliament. "We need a strong foundation to ensure the country's development," Yushchenko said. Yushchenko lost much of his power, including the right to name the prime minister and form a government, on January 1, 2006, when constitutional amendments to shift Ukraine from a presidential-parliamentary to a parliamentary-presidential form of governance adopted in December 2004 came into force. The latest political crisis in the ex-Soviet state broke out when Yushchenko moved to dismiss the legislature for the first time on April 2 after 11 opposition members defected to the premier-controlled ruling coalition, bringing it closer to a 300-member majority able to override presidential vetoes. The power struggle between Yushchenko, who has pledged to bring the country into the EU and NATO, and the more Moscow-friendly Yanukovych, has been ongoing since 2004, when Yushchenko defeated Yanukovych in a rerun of the allegedly rigged presidential vote following mass protests known as the "orange revolution." Yanukovych returned as premier after his party's landslide victory in the March 2006 parliamentary polls.
Print Viktor Yushchenko said Wednesday he was planning to call a national referendum on amending the Constitution to limit parliament's powers Bookmark Viktor Yushchenko said Wednesday he was planning to call a national referendum on amending the Constitution to limit parliament's powers

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