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    The Supreme Rada

    Ukrainian parliamentary elections postponed

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    Ukraine parliamentary elections due later this year were moved back by some 18 months on Tuesday after a vote by lawmakers.

    Ukraine parliamentary elections due later this year were moved back by some 18 months on Tuesday after a vote by lawmakers.

    The decision to give lawmakers an extra year - from four to five - in parliament was supported by 310 out of 450 members of the Supreme Rada, with a required minimum of 300 votes.

    The amendments postpone the next parliamentary elections until October 2012.

    Political confusion has reigned in Ukraine since the Constitutional Court ruled last September that the 2004 reforms that transferred a significant amount of power from the president to parliament were adopted in breach of the constitution.

    The court's decision meant that amendments that came into force in the summer of 2006 were no longer valid. As a result, it was unclear when the next parliamentary elections were due to take place. The opposition, led by former premier Yulia Tymoshenko, has urged the holding of parliamentary elections in 2011, in adherence to the 1996 Constitution.

    The 1996 Constitution stipulates that parliament is elected for four years, while the current Supreme Rada was elected in 2007 for five years after the amendments had been introduced.

    The incumbent members of the Supreme Rada were elected according to the rules of the 2004 Constitution, and their term expires in 2012.

    Yevgeniy Suslov, a lawmaker from the opposition Yulia Tymoshenko-Batkivshchyna bloc, told the RBC-Ukraine news agency that seven lawmakers had been expelled from the faction for supporting the amendments in Tuesday's vote.

    In November 2010, the Constitutional Court ruled that the introduction of the amendments to the country's constitution would not violate civil rights.

    KIEV, February 1 (RIA Novosti)

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