Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has dissolved parliament and will hold elections October 26, the Associated Press has reported.
Poroshenko had warned of the move last week, telling news agency Interfax Ukraine his decision "will be made when there is a constitutional basis for it and that moment, as everyone knows, is on Independence Day (Aug. 24)."
The country has been mired with an unstable economy for months, as a result of the ongoing fighting in its eastern regions. Despite a multi-billion euro lifeline provided by the International Monetary Fund, reforms failed to take shape. Poroshenko also met persistent pushback from the parliament, which had been populated with supporters of former president Viktor Yanukovych.
The dissolution of parliament follows the July 24 collapse of the Moscow-backed governing coalition in Ukraine, which had seen the rise of separatist rebellions for months. The conflict has left more than 2,000 civilians dead and at least 726 Ukrainian servicemen, according to the AP, while an estimate for the number of rebel dead has not surfaced.
The announcement comes a day ahead of a summit in Minsk, Belarus, that will see both Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend. Putin is expected to pressure Ukraine into pursuing negotiations instead of continuing to fight on the ground.
The dissolution, as outlined by the constitution, cannot take effect until at least a month has passed. With the snap elections in October, the pro-Europe Poroshenko and his liberal supporters could manage to win more support for their strategy against Russia. Poroshenko also has the support of the United States.
"In my discussions with party factions and parliamentary leaders, I will be guided by the desire of the Ukrainian people," he told Interfax Ukraine earlier last week. "They want a 'reboot,' they want a purging [of the system]. The elections will be the best form for a purging."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.