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    Ukraine PM defies presidential decree to dissolve parliament - 1

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    Ukraine's government and parliament will continue their regular work despite the current political crisis, the prime minister said Tuesday.

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    KIEV, April 3 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's government and parliament will continue their regular work despite the current political crisis, the prime minister said Tuesday.

    President Viktor Yushchenko signed a decree Monday disbanding the parliament and calling for new legislative elections, promising they will be held in line with the Constitution and scheduling them for May 27.

    "We have to wait until the decision of the Constitutional Court on the legitimacy of the presidential decree has been made," Viktor Yanukovych said at an extraordinary meeting of parliament. "Meanwhile, the Supreme Rada and the government will continue their regular work."

    Yanukovych said Tuesday the Ukrainian leader's dismissal of parliament was an attempt to seize power in the country.

    "We can only conclude that the presidential decree on the dissolution of parliament is aimed at usurping power, because it disbands a legitimately elected parliament," Yanukovych said during an extraordinary meeting of the Supreme Rada.

    Ukraine's latest political crisis was triggered by the defection of 11 opposition members of the pro-presidential Our Ukraine and the Tymoshenko Bloc to the majority coalition March 23.

    The Ukrainian president said Tuesday he will sign a decree canceling the government's latest resolutions supporting parliament in its standoff with the head of state.

    "Today I will sign a decree on the cancellation of the government resolutions adopted yesterday in accordance with these Supreme Rada resolutions," Yushchenko said.

    Yushchenko has accused the majority coalition, led by Yanukovych, of trying to expand its power base through unconstitutional means, notably by welcoming defecting lawmakers. By law, only entire factions can join the ruling coalition.

    Despite the presidential decree, the Supreme Rada decided not to cancel its meeting and adopted a number of resolutions Monday night.

    In its address to the nation, it said the president had no justification to dissolve the body.

    During an emergency government meeting last night, Yanukovych said Yushchenko should cancel the order and sit down at the negotiating table.

    On Monday, Yushchenko held consultations with the Rada speaker and faction leaders, following which he broadcast his dissolution order in a televised address to the Ukrainian nation.

    The latest reports said that coalition supporters are converging on the Supreme Rada building in Kiev, where they intend to protect parliamentarians from "orange" forces, Ukraine's Channel 5 reported Tuesday.

    Yushchenko met Tuesday with the leadership of security agencies, and said military force should be ruled out in the current conflict.

    "I address you as leaders commanding tens of thousands of armed personnel. The conflict we have is political, and politicians should resolve conflicts by political means," he said.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday Russia calls on Ukrainian political forces to compromise and hopes the situation in the country will remain within the legal framework.

    "Russia is following developments in Ukraine with attention and concern. We hope it will not go beyond the country's legal framework," the ministry said.

    Rada Speaker Oleksandr Moroz said Tuesday Yuschenko will meet with Yanukovych at 11:00 a.m. GMT to discuss the political crisis following the president's decree on parliament's dissolution.

    The leader of the faction of the Party of Regions, Raisa Bogatyryova, said Tuesday parliament's coalition has filed a representation with the Constitutional Court on whether the presidential decree to dismiss parliament was legal.

    She said the court will work 24 hours a day and its ruling is expected in five days' time.

    Asked whether the coalition will implement any ruling of the court, Bogatyryova said: "I can't comment on a nonexistent court ruling. Depending on what it is, we will make our decision."

    The European Commission has called on Ukraine to settle the political situation by peaceful means.

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