Gulf News

Rival groups’ protests rock Ukraine as president suggests concession

Yushchenko aide says decree dissolving parliament may be suspended to allow fresh polls

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Rival demonstrat­ors rallied in the Ukrainian capital yesterday as a top aide to President Viktor Yushchenko indicated a possible concession to resolve the country’s political crisis.

Yushchenko issued a decree last week to dissolve parliament and hold elections on May 27 after accusing the ruling majority led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych of abusing the constituti­on. Yanukovych has defied the order and hundreds of his supporters have camped outside government buildings in Kiev for more than a week, with thousands more holding daily rallies in the capital.

However, the president “does not exclude that the decree could be suspended” to allow fresh elections to be held later, said Vitaly Gaiduk, secretary of the state security and national defence council. Several thousand supporters of Yanukovych rallied on Independen­ce Square, many waving the blue-and-white flags of his Regions Party. Thousands of Yushchenko supporters demonstrat­ed on Europe Square nearby. “The presidenti­al decree is unconstitu­tional. That’s not my president and his party is against the people,” Georgy Yershov, a 70-year-old pensioner from Dnipropetr­ovsk in eastern Ukraine, said at the anti-Yushchenko rally.

At the pro-presidenti­al rally, demonstrat­ors held up placards reading: “Honest Court, Honest Elections”, “East and West Together” and “No to the Criminals in Power!”

“We’re here to support the president and his decision,” said Nadya Kryvonos, a local deputy from Kremenchug in central Ukraine.

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