Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko, at a meeting with Interior Minister and People's Self-Defense Leader Yuriy Lutsenko, demanded that his political force support the candidacy of Ivan Pliusch for the post of Verkhovna Rada speaker, otherwise, he said he would sign a decree dissolving the parliament.

A source in the faction of the Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense Bloc told this to Interfax-Ukraine on Friday.

The source said that on Wednesday, December 3, Yuschenko and Lutsenko had a 40-minute phone talk. During the conversation, the head of state tried to persuade the People's Self-Defense leader of the need to support the candidacy of Pliusch, because, otherwise, the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko and the Regions Party will form a coalition that will amend the constitution regarding the election of the president in parliament.

Lutsenko, in turn, said that the People's Self-Defense group of deputies is not planning to support this kind of constitutional amendment if it is proposed. The representatives of his political force are ready to back bills resolving economic and social issues, he said.

According to the source, Lutsenko said that the People's Self-Defense would not support Pliusch as candidate for speaker.

The president and the interior minister again met on Thursday and the former again tried to persuade the latter of the need to vote for Pliusch, the source said. Lutsenko confirmed the position of his political force that this candidacy is unacceptable and suggested nominating a new one from the faction of the Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense Bloc.

Yuschenko said that he would sign a decree dissolving the Verkhovna Rada and scheduling snap elections if Pliusch is not elected parliament speaker.

Some media have reported that Yuschenko also tried to persuade Regions Party Leader Viktor Yanukovych to back Pliusch for speaker at a meeting. However, a party MP, Anna Herman, told Interfax-Ukraine that she knew nothing of any meeting.

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