Ukrainian politicians have emerged from six hours of talks on how to solve the nation’s political crisis, but there is still no consensus. The outgoing president Leonid Kuchma has made concessions to those who have been protesting against last month’s presidential ballot, but there has not been enough progress to bring the crisis to an end. Kuchma says he has agreed to sack the central election commission and support election reform, both key demands of the opposition, who are now gearing up for a rerun of the vote on December 26.
There has been no agreement, however, on a third condition of the opposition: the dismissal of the government. Nonetheless, Kuchma’s statement says the opposition has agreed to lift a blockade of public buildings once the first two concessions are enacted.
“The new election campaign has begun,” said the opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko. “Parliament will today look at adopting two very important laws. The second one, concerning election reform, is more important because it will put an end to the real possibility of results being falsified in the new ballot.”
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich insists he will take part in the runoff, despite signs that support he had earlier enjoyed from Kuchma has diminished. The outgoing president is reported as saying the new vote could be more of a referendum on one candidate than a real election.