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Yanukovych Expected to Fire 2 Ministers in Days

KIEV — Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is expected to use new presidential powers to dismiss two ministers by the end of the week, the justice minister said Monday.

The Constitutional Court, in a landmark ruling Friday, handed Yanukovych powers that had been lost to parliament in 2004, including the right to name and fire the prime minister and other ministers.

Speaking to journalists, Justice Minister Oleksander Lavrynovych said he expected Yanukovych to dismiss two of five deputy prime ministers currently serving in the government of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.

Lavrynovych said the 1996 constitution, which has now come back into force with last Friday's ruling, foresaw only three deputy prime ministers and one first deputy prime minister.

"Given that the number of deputy prime ministers is slightly out of line … I am sure that the president in the course of the week will fulfill the decision of the court and the makeup of the Cabinet will be aligned with the constitution," he said.

The current five deputy prime ministers are: Borys Kolesnikov, responsible for the UEFA Euro 2012 football tournament; Volodomyr Sivkovych, who looks after law enforcement bodies; Viktor Slauta, who holds the agro-industrial portfolio; Sergei Tigipko, who handles economic issues; and Viktor Tykhonov, who oversees regional policy.

Lavrynovych did not pinpoint which ministers he thought would go.

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