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Ukraine's Opposition Leader Pledges to Help Solve Political Crisis


Ukraine's main opposition leader and former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, says lawmakers from her party will participate in legislative action to resolve the country's political crisis.

Tymoshenko told reporters in Kyiv on Saturday that her party members are willing to attend parliamentary sessions for a day or two to vote on a package of measures needed for holding early elections. The new date for early elections has not been set.

Tymoshenko's party has the second highest number of seats in the country's unicameral assembly (Verhovna Rada), after Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich's Party of Regions.

Tymoschenko, who was one of the most ardent advocates of early elections, said the parliament may vote on the package as early as next week.

Meanwhile, a working group of experts is preparing proposals for changes in the constitution aimed at improving the electoral process.

Ukraine's political crisis began last month when President Viktor Yushchenko ordered the dissolution of parliament and early elections. He accused Prime Minister Yanukovych and his parliamentary allies of using illegal influence to persuade pro-presidential lawmakers to switch sides and join Mr. Yanukovych's coalition.

Tensions between the reformist president and the prime minister, who favors closer ties with Russia, have been simmering since 2004, when the two men were rivals in a controversial presidential election.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.