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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 December, 2004, 18:37 GMT
Ukraine rivals bid to end crisis
Ukrainian opposition lawmakers celebrate in parliament in Kiev
There were emotional scenes in parliament after the vote
The rivals for Ukraine's presidency have agreed to continue talks over the disputed presidential election, reports outgoing President Leonid Kuchma.

He said negotiations between Viktor Yanukovych and Viktor Yushchenko that began on Wednesday would resume after a Supreme Court ruling on the poll.

Mr Yushchenko's opposition agreed to end a blockade of official buildings.

Parliament earlier passed a vote of no-confidence in Prime Minister Yanukovych's government.

Mr Yanukovych has said he will not step down and described the parliament's decision as illegal.

He says he wants the contested second round of the presidential elections to be annulled - alleging there were irregularities in the voting in opposition stronghold areas in western Ukraine.

But Mr Kuchma, who was at the talks, suggested there should be an entirely fresh election.

Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and his Lithuanian counterpart Valdas Adamkus, as well as the Secretary General of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Jan Kubis, also attended the crisis meeting.

Mr Yanukovych and Mr Yuchshenko met at the weekend in a first round of talks, but only agreed to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis.

BBC regional analyst Steven Eke says that while the opposition sees the parliamentary no-confidence vote as a victory, Mr Kuchma's proposal to run the entire election again is designed to undermine opposition momentum.

Interim government

In parliament, 229 MPs - three more than required in the 450-seat assembly - voted in favour of sacking Mr Yanukovych as prime minister and creating an interim government.

POLITICAL CRISIS TIMELINE
Viktor Yanukovych and Viktor Yushchenko
21 Nov: Viktor Yanukovych declared winner of run-off poll
Independent observers declare the elections flawed, thousands take to the streets
25 Nov: Supreme court suspends publication of result while it considers the opposition's complaints
26 Nov: Yanukovych and Yushchenko hold talks and agree to seek peaceful solution
27 Nov: MPs declare poll invalid, pass vote of no-confidence in election commission
28 Nov: Threat by eastern regions to secede if Yushchenko declared president
29 Nov: Supreme Court starts considering complaints of poll abuses and arguments of pro-government camp
1 Dec: Parliament passes motion of no-confidence in government

There is confusion over what should happen next as a result of the parliamentary vote, but a lawyer in Kiev who spoke to the BBC's Stephen Mulvey said the president was now obliged to sack the government.

He will then propose a new candidate for prime minister, whom parliament will be able to reject if it wants to, the lawyer said.

The vote was the second attempt on Wednesday to pass the no-confidence motion, after Tuesday's session ended without agreement.

Nestor Shufrych, a member of a pro-government party, described the vote as "howls and snivellings" on the part of parliament.

"The president is the guardian of the constitution and he won't pay attention to this. He won't take this seriously," Mr Shufrych told the BBC.

He said it was an illegal decision and that they would contest it in the constitutional court.

In a separate vote, the local parliament in Mr Yanukovych's home region of Donetsk decided to hold a referendum on 9 January to seek autonomy from central government.

Voting 'irregularities'

After the parliamentary vote, Mr Yanukovych submitted a complaint to the supreme court which alleges that in the run-off poll on 21 November, there were irregularities in certain voting districts in western Ukraine and Kiev - strongholds of Mr Yushchenko's.

The electoral authorities say Mr Yanukovych beat Mr Yushchenko in the poll, but the opposition - backed by international observers - says there was massive fraud.

The US and the European Union said run-off fell short of democratic norms, and the Supreme Court delayed publication of the results while it considers the vote-rigging allegations.


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