In Ukraine, thousands of people are preparing to stage further protests over the constitutional crisis threatening to split the country. Supporters of the prime minister have already set up a stage in central Kiev in a bid to recreate some of the upheaval of the Orange Revolution two and a half years ago.
Viktor Yanukovich says he will have nothing to do with the president’s decision to dissolve parliament until a constitutional court has reached a verdict. President Viktor Yushchenko’s move to call early elections brought months of sniping to a head. He accused his pro-Russia rival of trying to usurp power by increasing his parliamentary majority in an unconstitutional manner.
But Prime Minister Yanukovich insists he’s not afraid of going to the polls. Addressing western ambassadors he repeated a call for talks for end the stand-off. Nevertheless, President Yushchenko’s office says poll preparations are going ahead. The row has not only raised political tensions inside parliament.
Outside the building housing Ukraine’s Central Election Commission, pro-Yushchenko activists have also been staging a rally in support of the president’s call for a new poll. However, no decision can be expected from the Constitutional court for about a month.