Parliamentary allies of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych have passed a law providing amnesty to protesters detained during two months of street unrest.
But opposition MPs abstained from the vote, angry that it was taken on an unseen text which apparently said it was conditional upon activists vacating occupied buildings.
Yuri Miroshnichenko, a member of the ruling Party of Regions and who was the author of the amnesty bill said the conditions were limited. The camp in Maidan with its tents could stay he said. The essential thing was for administrators to be able to work, ‘because the cities and regions needed life to go on’ he added, refering to occupied regional council buildings around the country.
Several hours after the vote, the bill was finally published. Analysts said there was a loophole allowing the government to insist on the clearing of barricades if there were any protests it felt were non-peaceful.
Even so, Ukraine’s opposition parties are pushing for more than just an amnesty. They want to see a real change in the balance of power.
“If we fix another crucial issue, which is constitutional amendments and the key factor of this constitutional amendments is to shift from presidential to a parliament-presidential republic, so this could even somehow calm down the situation in Ukraine,” said Fatherland Party leader Arseny Yatsenyuk,
The law was was passed under the personal influence of President Yanukovych who held behind closed-door sessions in parliament, much to the opposition’s annoyance.