As it was at the end of 2004, the world's attention is again focused on
events in Ukraine. Yet the widespread admiration our nation was greeted with
during that time is now being substituted by overwhelming concern, Financial Times reported.

President Viktor Yushchenko has attempted to dissolve the parliament under
the pretext of preserving democracy in Ukraine. Yet, as international
reaction has proved, no one has described the crisis in terms of an ultimate
struggle for democracy. Most see it as domestic infighting, fraught with
unpredictable consequences not only for Ukraine but also for the larger
European and global communities.

The background is simple. The constitution of Ukraine defines specific
circumstances under which the president has the right to dissolve parliament
and call an early election. None of these existed when Mr Yushchenko
announced his decision to dissolve Verkhovna Rada.

Convinced that the president is not a tsar who can dissolve an elected body
on his whim, the parliament refused to recognise his decision. Mr Yushchenko
insisted his action was legal. Given these conflicting views the parliament
appealed to the constitutional court, the sole independent authority, to
decide on the constitutionality of legal acts.

It is not my intention to oversimplify the situation. Mr Yushchenko's claim
requires a serious response. Like all Ukrainian politicians, I have learnt a
lot since the dramatic events of 2004. I truly believe that our political
pluralism, which should be cherished and preserved, is one of the main
sources of our national strength and a guarantee of Ukraine's bright future.

However, Mr Yushchenko's allegations that democracy in Ukraine is in danger
are simply not true. Democracy is thriving. I invite interested readers to
request a reference about the state of democracy in Ukraine from any
independent and authoritative source such as the Council of Europe, which
monitors our democratic progress.

The real problem lies in the diminishing support in society for the current
opposition parties and in the president's misjudgment in aligning himself
with only one part of the political spectrum.

All the main political forces of Ukraine want to see their country
successful, democratic, prosperous and integrated into the European realm.
The only substantive difference between them is in their capacity to bring
this desired outcome to fruition.

The ruling coalition has been in charge of the country's affairs for only
eight months, yet already it has provided conclusive proof of progress -
unlike its predecessors, who are currently in the opposition.

Whether we are talking about economic policies, implementation of democratic
and social reforms, fighting corruption, fulfilling Ukraine's international
obligations or making progress in Ukraine's European integration, the
success of the ruling coalition could not pass unnoticed.

That is the main reason why some members of the opposition in parliament
have given their support to the ruling coalition. Parliamentarians realised
that by acting in this way they would better meet the expectations of those
who elected them.

Let me make this absolutely clear: neither I nor the political parties that
form the government are afraid to go to the Ukrainian people to request
their judgment on our performance.

People's trust is the only source of power for our government. And,
according to most polls, the political parties in the current coalition are
expected to strengthen their positions substantially should an early
election be called.

What is at stake is the effective functioning of democracy. The freedoms and
privileges of a democratic society have to be enjoyed responsibly and no one
can be allowed a cherry-picking approach with regard to democratic norms
and principles.

As Javier Solana, the European Union high representative, once pointed out,
"Ukraine has to learn playing by the rules and not with the rules."

Calling an early parliamentary election without a legal justification has
challenged one of the foundations of democracy: the rule of law. The only
basis for a political compromise in Ukraine lies in respecting that.

So 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 civilised way out of the current political

I strongly believe that democracy will prevail, that the political crisis
will be resolved peacefully and that Ukraine will again be applauded by the
inter-national community for its wisdom, responsibility and maturity, Yanukovych said.


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