Ukraine president calls election for December


Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has ordered early parliamentary elections be held on December 7th, according to a decree published today.

Mr Yushchenko's call was issued while he was on a visit to Italy and a day after he saidhad abandoned the search for a viable coalition in parliament, the Verkhovna (Supreme) Rada.

He blamed prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, his estranged ally from the 2004 "Orange Revolution", for the collapse of a government team that emerged from that pro-Western upheaval which swept him to power.

"I decree ... to hold early elections to the Verkhovna Rada on December 7th, 2008," the president's website, , said.

The decree cited article 90 of the post-Soviet constitution which enables him to dissolve the assembly if talks fail to produce a viable governing combination.

Political groups other than the president's Our Ukraine party have denounced the election call and some politicians have pledged to challenge the decree in the courts.

Mr Yushchenko twice named Ms Tymoshenko prime minister but has been constantly at odds with her almost since his election. He paid scant heed to her calls to patch up differences and reinstate their parties' coalition.

"I am convinced, deeply convinced that the democratic coalition was ruined by one thing alone - human ambition. The ambition of one person," he said in his television address last night.

The election is the third in as many years in the ex-Soviet state gripped by political turmoil since the protests of 2004.