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Chief Judge of Ukraine Constitutional Court Quits


The chief judge of Ukraine's Constitutional Court has resigned while leading deliberations on a constitutional crisis that has all but paralyzed the Kyiv government.

A court statement Thursday says Judge Ivan Dombrovsky's resignation has been accepted and that his responsibilities have been transferred to the court's chief deputy.

No reason was given for the resignation, which comes as the court attempts to determine the legality of a presidential decree dissolving parliament and setting a May 27 date for new elections. A second decree moved that date to June 24.

President Viktor Yushchenko issued the decree in early April, after accusing his chief rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, and his legislative majority of trying to usurp power.

Judge Dombrovsky's replacement, Valery Pshenichny, is one of three Constitutional Court judges that the president fired earlier this month, after accusing them of violating their oaths.

The presidential order dissolving parliament threw Ukraine into its deepest political crisis since the so-called Orange Revolution mass demonstrations of 2004 that eventually propelled Mr. Yushchenko into the presidency.

Mr. Yanukovych, who was prime minister at the time of the protests, returned to office last year, when his party gained the largest share of votes in January's parliamentary polls.

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

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