President Petro Poroshenko dissolved Ukraine’s parliament on Monday and announced an election on October 26 in the country that is fighting a war against separatists that has driven relations with Russia to an all-time low.
Poroshenko’s decision had been expected after the governing coalition in Ukraine – which ousted its Moscow-backed president in street protests in February precipitating the separatist rebellions in its eastern regions – collapsed on July 24.
Poroshenko and his government, whose pro-Europe policies have riled the Kremlin, hope to stabilize the situation in the east by October sufficiently to hold a relatively normal election that will earn them greater legitimacy and strengthen their hand in dealing with Russia.
“I have taken the decision to dissolve parliament for elections on October 26,” Poroshenko said in a Twitter post in which he urged all Ukrainians to turn out.
He and his liberal supporters will be seeking an endorsement of the tough line they have taken in the separatist war and their European integration policies which have brought confrontation with Russia.
Moscow, angered by the ousting of Yanukovich who fled following the deaths of more than 100 protesters killed in Kiev by police snipers, annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in March.