Ukraine's apex court has voided changes to the Constitution adopted during the pro-Western “orange revolution” six years ago in a move that strengthens the power of the Moscow-friendly President, Viktor Yanukovych.

The Constitutional Court on Friday invalidated the controversial political reform of 2004 that deprived the President of the right to appoint the Prime Minister and the Cabinet and passed this authority to Parliament. The reform prompted a paralysing tug-of-war between the “orange revolution” leaders — President Victor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, which eventually led to the defeat of both in the presidential election in February.

The Court ruling restores in Ukraine a presidential system similar to that in Russia and many other former Soviet republics.

Since taking office, Mr. Yanukovych has re-oriented Ukraine's foreign policy back to Russia and renounced his predecessor's bid to join NATO.

Russian leaders Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin have repeatedly said the presidential system was the best for ex-Soviet states and criticised Kyrgyzstan's decision earlier this year to shift to a parliamentary democracy.

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