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Tymoshenko Allies Block Ukrainian Parliament Session

Supporters of Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, locked in a bitter rivalry with President Viktor Yushchenko, have blocked a parliamentary session the president called on economic crisis funding.

Tymoshenko supporters blocked access to the parliament rostrum, preventing the start of the session.

Mr. Yushchenko Monday announced plans to delay early elections scheduled for December 7 by one week to December 14.

Ms. Tymoshenko has strongly opposed early elections, and instead called for a broad coalition to tackle the country's economic woes. Her government last week refused to authorize funding for the polls.

Both leaders, split over efforts to curb presidential powers and Russia's military incursion into Georgia, met separately Monday with envoys from the International Monetary Fund. The talks were viewed as a major step toward setting conditions for a multi-billion dollar emergency loan for Ukraine. The president later called the special legislative session.

The Ukrainian economy, like others across Europe, has been battered by the global economic crisis. The government has moved to rescue several major banks, while stock share prices and the national currency have fallen dramatically in recent weeks.

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