Q&A: Next steps in Ukraine crisis
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The U.S. has a significant stake in what is happening in Ukraine.
(CNN) -- Ukraine's parliament has voted to ask President Leonid Kuchma to dismiss the government of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych to help end a political crisis triggered by a contested presidential election.
The move sets in motion a process in which Kuchma must first back the vote of no-confidence by lawmakers and then call for new a election. (Full story)
We asked CNN's Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty, who is in the Ukraine capital of Kiev, to explain the situation.
Q: What does the no-confidence vote mean to the people of Ukraine?
A: It's a big win for the opposition. It still technically has to go to President Leonid Kuchma who will then officially take the steps to fire the government and then, following what the parliament wants, create an interim government.
Q: What if the president doesn't support parliament's no-confidence vote?
A: If he doesn't sign off on it, then parliament would have to mount a new vote (with the necessary two thirds majority -- 301 of the 450 members) to override the president's decision.
Q: Do you think the president will decide not to support the non-confidence vote?
A: The political balance is shifting. After all, the opposition tried two different times to get this vote and didn't. So there are more people coming on board with the opposition politically.
The pressure is really on Kuchma. He has a predicament on his hands right now. He has not only this political situation but also an economic situation. There are reports that prices is the store are rising. People are very worried and people are starting to take their money out of banks. The economic situation now is threatened and he has admitted that. So there is mounting pressure for Kuchma to do something.
Q: So, what needs to happen between now and a new election call?
A: There are still problems on the road and they are serious ones. There are still no negotiations going on between the two parties. They were broken off by the opposition who said the government is simply trying to drag things out so that the people on the streets might go home. But they show no signs of going home.
Also we have international representatives back here again trying to bring negotiations back on track.
A final wrinkle in all this, we have Kuchma saying that he would not accept holding another round of the previous election. He is open to a "new" election. A new election would mean new candidates. That means opposition candidates can't run again. So that is a non-starter for the opposition.
Q: Why does Kuchma insist on holding new elections rather than repeat the elections?
A: The process of voting may be the same but legally it isn't not the same. Because if you had another round of these elections -- you didn't declare them null and void and you just said there were so many irregularities let's do it again -- then the same men who ran could run again. If they say, however, no we're having brand new elections, then that means, according to the law, the men who ran could not run again.
Now, the government seems willing to throw Mr. Yanukovych, their candidate, over the side but they are not willing to let opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko run again. That's the person they really think steered up all this trouble.
So, that's the dilemma. Kuchma is open to new elections but new elections without the opposition leader.