Ukrainians rally against leaders

Kiev filled with 20,000 protesters demanding leaders quit over economic crisis.

    The protests come ahead of elections scheduled
    for October this year [AFP]

    'Change for the better'

    He said that he would suspend protests until April 14 so that Tymoshenko can come up with a programme to address the economic crisis. 

    Demonstrators also called for the resignation of President Vikor Yushchenko, whose approval ratings have slumped to about three per cent since the country was hit by the global economic crisis and government infighting.

    It was the second such rally by the Regions Party in as many weeks, and was the largest in the ex-Soviet state since the 2007 parliamentary campaigns.

    Yanukovich is expected to run against Yushchenko in elections set by parliament two days ago for October 25.

    The date is about three months earlier than Yushchenko had wanted, potentially giving him a reduced time frame to bolster the economy and gain political capital.

    President 'ready'

    Yushchenko, the leader of the People's Union party, said that he is ready for both presidential and parliamentary elections.

    "I am unafraid of any sort of election, and that includes a presidential election," he said.

    Yushchenko's administration had previously said that bringing the parliamentary vote forward would be unconstitutional and that it should be at the end of the president's five-year term at the beginning of 2010.

    Parliament has drafted a number of measures to counteract the economy's failings, including the easing of millions of dollars of suspended credit, and Tymoshenko is pushing for the approval of additional policies.

    Ukraine is one of the nations hardest hit by the global economic crisis, with steel - its main export - undergoing a sharp price fall, precipitating thousands of job losses.

    The International Monetary Fund offered Ukraine a loan last year to deal with their economic downturn.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.