Talks between Ukraine's Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko broke down Tuesday morning, with the two sides failing to agree on how to end the country's political turmoil.
President Kuchma (left) refuses to dismiss Premier Yanukovych (right)
After six hours of round table talks which lasted into the early hours of Tuesday morning, outgoing President Leonid Kuchma agreed to opposition demands to sack the central election commission and support election law reform. But little progress was made on the opposition's main demands.
European Union mediator Javier Solana and OSCE officials were unable to break the deadlock.
The primary reasons for the collapse of negotiations were the question of constitutional reform reducing the powers of the next president and the opposition's demand to sack the current government before the scheduled presidential run-off on Dec. 26.
The two parties did find common ground on two points, namely, the appointment of a new central election commission and the need for electoral reform before a presidential run-off.
Opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko's supporters
After the former Soviet state was plunged into chaos following the rigged presidential poll over two weeks ago, there have been calls for massive reforms.
Both sides agree that a new central election commission and electoral reform are needed.
There's still friction concerning constitutional reform to redefine the president’s powers. Kuchma wants to transfer much of the president's power to the prime minister.
Supporters of Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych
Pro-Moscow Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych has signalled that he will only support a new election law if the two sides can agree a change in the constitution to limit the powers of a future president.
Meanwhile, West-leaning Yushchenko -- who believes he rightfully won the election --refused to agree to such a deal.
A package of reforms
Parliamentary president Volodymyr Litvin said that the series of reforms must be passed as a package.
"We don't trust each other and can't agree which laws to pass first," he said. "We must go to parliament and calmly discuss the matter. We can't bring along anything that would disturb discussions. Also, the blockades around government buildings and the parliament must be removed."
But Yushchenko disagreed with voting on a package that includes both presidential powers and electoral reform. His rival has a broad base of support from the Russian-speaking eastern provinces and Ukraine's powerful neighbor, Russia.
No end to turmoil
Without Yanukovych's removal from power, pro-Yushchenko demonstrators are expected to continue their protests in Kiev.The Ukrainian parliament was due to hold a session of parliament today to pass reform legislation. But as the recent round of talks has failed, it looked as if there will be no bill to pass.