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Yushchenko Refuses to Cancel Order Dissolving Parliament

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has refused to back down from his order to dissolve parliament and hold early elections next month.

He told reporters Thursday that Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's efforts to form a parliamentary majority by luring rival lawmakers to his coalition was illegal and an attempt to usurp power.

Mr. Yushchenko said his order last week to dissolve parliament stands. And, while he still intends to hold elections, he said he could consider delaying the date for early voting.

Parliament has refused to dissolve and is also refusing to authorize funds for a new vote.

But in a show of compromise, Prime Minister Yanukovych said Thursday he may be willing to agree to an early election if all political leaders agree on a date and conditions.

Ukraine's Constitutional Court holds hearings next week into the legality of Mr. Yushchenko's order dissolving parliament.

The Yushchenko-Yanukovych political rivalry has been simmering since the 2004 presidential election. Mr. Yanukovych won the vote, but Yushchenko supporters protested against what they said was massive election fraud. The Supreme Court ordered a new election, which Mr. Yuchshenko won.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.