Community News

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ukraine president criticizes limits on his power

(Reuters) - President Viktor Yanukovich said Friday limits on the power of the presidency introduced in Ukraine's 2004 "Orange Revolution" had produced a crisis of authority and urged a change in the constitution.

Reversing the amendments would help Yanukovich, who has pursued closer relations with Russia, to consolidate his power after winning presidential elections this year, installing his ally as prime minister and securing a parliamentary majority.

"The experience of state-building... shows that Ukraine's constitution requires certain changes," Yanukovich said in a televised address to the nation ahead of Constitution Day celebrated on June 28.

"Some of its norms, in particular those hastily introduced in 2004, led to misbalancing and a serious crisis of authority, and have become target of justified criticism in the country and from the international community."

The 2004 amendments weakened presidential powers such as control over naming government ministers, passing those functions to the parliament.

They were introduced as part of a deal to end the "Orange Revolution" street protests, which swept Yanukovich's rival Viktor Yushchenko to the presidency.

Yushchenko tried to reverse the amendments during a spat with then-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, but he failed to secure the support of the 300 of 450 parliament deputies required to change the constitution.

Three factions that make up Yanukovich's coalition currently control 219 seats in the parliament but the group enjoys support from a number of individual deputies belonging to other factions, routinely securing up to 250 votes.

(Reporting by Yuri Kulikov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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