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New elections suggested to break Ukraine dead -

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New elections suggested to break Ukraine deadlock

Reporter: Norman Hermant

TONY JONES: The latest developments in Ukraine's political crisis may offer a way to break the
country's political deadlock.

For the first time, Ukraine's current president has suggested new elections as a possible
compromise.

And the declared winner of the contested presidential vote, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, has
offered a new vote, provided neither he nor opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko are candidates.

That offer was quickly rejected by Mr Yushchenko as Ukraine's central bank introduced tough new
currency controls to contain the economic damage caused by the crisis.

Norman Hermant reports.

NORMAN HERMANT: The latest round in Ukraine's political battle is playing out in the country's
parliament.

On the weekend, despite the fact it has no power to do so, it voted to invalidate the recent
presidential election.

Now, Opposition members want to enter the fray for real, hoping for enough support to force the
resignation of the Government of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, the declared winner of the vote
that has exposed Ukraine's deep divide.

Even as tens of thousands of Opposition supporters prepared for another day of demonstrations, the
country was absorbing words from the current president that may lead to a way out of this crisis.

After insisting since protests began that the results must stand, Leonard Kuchma broke with the
government line.

"If we really want to preserve peace and accord in Ukraine," he said. "If we really want to build
the democratic state we talk about, but have not managed to install in a legal way, let's hold new
elections."

Opposition leader Victor Yushchenko has been telling crowds the fate of the election rests with the
supreme court and the parliament.

But the proposal for a new vote has gained more momentum from the prime minister himself.

Mr Yanukovich says he would back a new election, provided neither he nor Mr Yushchenko were
candidates.

Barring that, he's offered to make the Opposition leader his prime minister if his victory is
confirmed by the court.

Tonight, Mr Yushchenko again refused that offer, but talk of a new election will be viewed as a
positive step in Washington, where there are growing concerns of a Ukraine split.

COLIN POWELL, US SECRETARY OF STATE: It is the United States' position, and I think the position of
everyone, that the territorial integrity of Ukraine is important.

NORMAN HERMANT: A new election will likely calm these protests, but there's a risk it could also
inflame the government heartland in eastern Ukraine that has already threatened to secede.

Norman Hermant, Lateline.