Political turmoil persists in Ukraine despite the Supreme Court’s decision to hold the second round of the disputed election again. International mediators say no round table discussion is planned for Monday, contrary to what Kiev previously announced. Talks were planned with the two presidential challengers in a bid to resolve a row over constitutional reform.
The opposition has heeded calls by their leader Viktor Yushchenko to stay on the streets ahead of the poll on December 26th. He wants to build on the momentum of massive street protests. Yushchenko says he has received death threats and that his personal security will be a priority during the campaign. On Saturday opposition deputies voted down proposals that would have transferred some presidential powers to government and parliament. They feared saying ‘yes’ would constrain Yushchenko if, as analysts expect, he wins the election. However, the ‘no’ vote also blocked a measure that would have helped the opposition – reform of election laws designed to prevent fraud. Meanwhile people in Kiev have been praying for a peaceful resolution of the standoff. Figures on both sides have appealed for national unity, amid warnings the country could split between the pro-Russian east, which backs Viktor Yanukovich, and the pro-Yushchenko west.