Ukraine's feuding president and prime minister yesterday agreed to hold an early parliamentary election on Sept. 30, defusing a months-long political crisis that had threatened to escalate into violence.
"A decision has been reached which is a compromise," Ukranian President Viktor Yushchenko told reporters after emerging from more than eight hours of tense talks early yesterday.
"Now we can say that the political crisis in Ukraine is over," he said.
Tensions between Yushchenko, who has sought to lead Ukraine into the EU and NATO, and his rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who seeks to preserve Ukraine's close ties with Moscow, have soared since the president ordered parliament disbanded last month and called new elections.
While Yanukovych later agreed to the snap vote, the leaders have bickered over its date, with Yushchenko calling to hold the election as soon as possible and Yanukovych insisting on an autumn vote.
The leaders' political struggle threatened to turn into a physical confrontation last week when Yushchenko ordered the dismissal of the country's chief prosecutor, loyal to the prime minister, who refused to leave his office.
Riot police surrounded the prosecutor's offices, preventing his eviction.