KIEV, Ukraine -- A top court in Ukraine will on Friday hand down a ruling that could give President Viktor Yanukovich wider powers, enabling him to name his own government and tighten his grip on the country.
Since Yanukovich came to power in February, his allies have pressed for him to recover presidential powers, lost in 2004 constitutional reforms, on the grounds this will enable him to push through reform in the ex-Soviet republic of 47 million.
They have now asked the Constitutional Court's 18 judges to rule that there were irregularities in a 2004 law which was brought in during the upheaval of the Orange Revolution street protests.
The law shifted some presidential powers to parliament, chiefly the right to name the prime minister and most cabinet members, and frustrated the pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko in his five years in office which ended earlier this year.
If the court rules in favour of the proposal, Yanukovich, who has quickly consolidated power since taking over from Yushchenko, will rule in a presidential system like that of many other former Soviet republics, including Russia.
The Constitutional Court said on Thursday it had reached its decision and would announce it on Friday in a session starting at 10 a.m.