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Ukraine court to rule on second Yushchenko dissolution decree

[JURIST] The Ukrainian Constitutional Court [official website] announced Monday that it will consider whether a second decree by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko [official website; BBC profile] to dissolve parliament and hold early June elections was constitutional. The court is already mulling [JURIST report] the constitutionality of Yushchenko's first decree [text; JURIST report] dissolving parliament and calling for new elections. He issued a second decree [JURIST report] last month, reiterating the provisions of the first and moving the elections to late June. A majority of legislators objected to the decree, and filed an appeal with the 18-judge Constitutional Court. One judge has said, however, that the court can not make any rulings yet as it does not have the necessary number of judges sitting since Yushchenko dismissed three judges [JURIST report] and their replacements have not yet been sworn in.

Yushchenko has insisted [JURIST report] that his dissolution decree was proper under the Ukrainian constitution [DOC text] and has said that officials who refuse to comply with his decree could face criminal prosecution [press release; JURIST report]. Yushchenko and current Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who launched the legal challenge to the decree, 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 as Ukraine's president [JURIST report] in January 2005 on the wings of the populist Orange Revolution [BBC timeline] after winning a re-vote. Yushchenko reluctantly accepted Yanukovych as prime minister last June and the two have since clashed over parliamentary attempts to expand the cabinet's power [JURIST reports] at the expense of the presidency. RIA Novosti has more.

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