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Ukraine's Poroshenko signs decree to dissolve parliament

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has dissolved the country's parliament. The move paves the way for new parliamentary elections that could enhance his government's legitimacy.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday dissolved parliament, setting up fresh elections.

In a statement posted on his website announcing the dissolution, Poroshenko said he had called snap elections on October 26.

On Thursday, Poroshenko had announced that the move was imminent, saying that 80 percent of Ukrainians wanted an election in order to "purge" the system and that he was ready to fulfil what they desired.

The ruling coalition in Ukraine collapsed on July 24, but the constitution states that at least a month has to pass before parliament can be dissolved.

The dissolution of parliament was among the campaign promises made by Poroshenko before he came to power in presidential elections in May.

The last parliamentary elections in Ukraine took place in October 2012, with the legislature being voted in for a five-year term.

The fresh election is likely to see many supporters of former Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych voted out of power, thus possibly giving a new government increased public endorsement after years of misrule and mispractice.

Many challenges

The Ukrainian government is currently facing not just economic difficulties, but also separatist rebellions in the Russian-speaking east of Ukraine, triggered when Yanukovych was ousted in March following massive street protests in the capital, Kyiv. More than 2,000 people have so far died in the violence.

Kyiv and the West have accused Moscow of orchestrating the insurgencies and providing the rebels with weapons.

The announcement of the parliamentary dissolution comes on the eve of a meeting on Tuesday in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, to be attended by both Poroshenko and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, along with other leaders. It was unclear whether the two men would meet one-on-one to discuss the crisis.

Another convoy?

It also comes just hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that Moscow planned to send a second aid convoy to eastern Ukraine. On Friday, a first Russian convoy crossed the border into Ukraine without Kyiv's approval, drawing accusations of an "invasion" from the Ukrainian government.

Kyiv had earlier expressed fears that the convoy could be carrying arms and munitions for the rebels, claims that Moscow dismissed out of hand, saying it was only transporting humanitarian supplies for people affected by the conflict.

Ukraine also claimed that its forces on Monday intercepted a column of tanks and armored vehicles coming from Russia. The claims have not been independently confirmed.

tj/jr (Reuters, AP)

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