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    Ukraine Cabinet to defy president's order to fund early polls

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    Ukraine's Cabinet will refuse to obey a presidential decree overturning its earlier decision not to finance a snap general election, a member of the parliamentary majority faction said Friday.

    KIEV, April 13 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's Cabinet will refuse to obey a presidential decree overturning its earlier decision not to finance a snap general election, a member of the parliamentary majority faction said Friday.

    President Viktor Yushchenko banned Thursday the Cabinet's decision to deny funds for new parliamentary elections that Yushchenko said would prevent Premier Viktor Yanukovych, whose allies dominate the legislature, from "usurping power."

    "This is a violation of the Budgetary Code, the law on the 2007 budget, and the Cabinet of Ministers will reject this decree as illegitimate," said Vasiliy Volga of the Socialist Party, which is part of the ruling coalition also comprising the Communists and is led by the premier's Party of Regions.

    Yushchenko also insisted the Cabinet decision was unconstitutional.

    The ex-Soviet state has been locked in a standoff between the long-time rivals, with the Supreme Rada defying the order to dissolve pending a Constitutional Court ruling on its legitimacy.

    At his first news conference in two weeks Thursday, Yushchenko said he would obey any court decision, but said he would not resign or call for an early presidential poll, as there were no legal grounds for the moves.

    In a Financial Times interview Friday, Yanukovych said: "The coalition has taken a responsible decision to abide by any ruling of the constitutional court over whether to dissolve parliament. This represents a truly democratic and civilized way out of the current political impasse."

    The government earlier Friday renewed appeals for Yushchenko to cancel or suspend his order disbanding parliament to try and end the political deadlock gripping the nation since April 2. The Party of Regions said the impasse could end up as a national vote of confidence in the president and parliament.

    On Thursday, Yushchenko refused to backtrack on his order, also saying there were no legal grounds to call an early presidential poll simultaneously with parliamentary elections. But he said elections originally slated for May 27, could be postponed until a later date, while also adding mediators could be invited to tackle the crisis.

    Thousands of coalition supporters and several hundred pro-presidential backers have been meanwhile facing off on the central squares of the capital, Kiev, bringing back memories of the "orange revolution" in 2004, when Yushchenko defeated Yanukovych in a rerun after an allegedly rigged presidential race.

    About 300 Yanukovych supporters in white-and-blue and 100 Yushchenko backers clad in his party's orange color filled the street in front of the presidential secretariat building Thursday. A police cordon is dividing them. No clashes have been reported.

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