In what is a major victory for the opposition in Ukraine, parliament has voted to sack the government of Viktor Yanukovich – the man officially declared winner of last month’s disputed presidential election.
The move helps pave the way for a new poll. That is a key demand of those backing the candidate who claims he was robbed of the presidency by systematic electoral fraud, Western-leaning liberal Viktor Yushchenko. Deputies also voted to create an interim administration – what they called a “government of national trust.” Today’s dramatic events in Kiev are a big blow to pro-Russian Prime Minister Yanukovich, who has been looking increasingly isolated. Outgoing president Leonid Kuchma has joined calls for a re-run but, unlike the opposition, he wants both rounds of the controversial ballot to be held again. The parliamentary resolution will lift the spirits of the orange-draped supporters of Yushchenko who, day after day, have turned out in their thousands on their streets of the capital – braving freezing temperatures. With international mediators in town trying to resolve the deadlock, many opposition activists are now looking to the country’s top court for the next boost to their campaign. It is considering claims that vote rigging took place and it is believed a ruling could be handed down later today.