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Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko signed a decree on Thursday to officially
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko signed a decree on Thursday to officially dissolve the Supreme Rada and set December 7 as the date for snap parliamentary polls.

Yushchenko announced his decision to dissolve parliament on Wednesday evening over a failure by MPs to form a new ruling coalition.

"I decree...to hold early elections to the Supreme Rada on December 7, 2008," the decree, posted on the president's website says.

The parliamentary elections will be the third in Ukraine in less than three years.

Under the Ukrainian constitution, the president has the right to dissolve parliament in the event of no majority coalition being formed within 30 days.

Yushchenko earlier blamed the collapse of the country's ruling coalition on Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, speaking of "the dominance of personal interests over national ones."

The country's pro-Western ruling coalition collapsed on September 3 when the pro-presidential Our Ukraine withdrew from the alliance after Tymoshenko's bloc joined with the opposition Party of Regions, led by Russia-friendly Viktor Yanukovych, to approve legislation substantially cutting presidential powers. Yushchenko called the move a "constitutional coup."

The coalition was officially dissolved on September 16.

According to law, elections must take place 60 days after parliament is dissolved.

Analysts believe that both Yushchenko and Tymoshenko will stand for president in elections due in 2010. The two were allies in the 2004 "Orange Revolution," but have since drifted apart on a host of issues, including the recent armed conflict between Russia and Georgia.

Tymoshenko earlier blocked a parliamentary vote to condemn Russia's "aggression" in Georgia during the recent conflict over South Ossetia and resisted the president's attempts to impose restrictions on Russia's Black Sea Fleet, currently stationed in Ukraine's Sevastopol port, as "populist."

Yushchenko subsequently accused her of being a Kremlin agent.


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