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Anger in Ukraine parliament as opposition constitution move blocked

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Anger in Ukraine parliament as opposition constitution move blocked


Before Tuesday’s street violence in Kyiv there were stormy scenes inside Ukraine’s parliament.

Staff refused to register an opposition resolution aimed at stripping President Yanukovych of much of his power by reintroducing the 2004 constitution.

Opposition parties blocked the parliamentary rostrum in protest.

The constitution enacted in the wake of the post-Soviet “Orange revolution” gave more power to parliament – and was ditched when Viktor Yanukovych took office.

Its return would mean parliament, not the president, choosing the prime minister. But the ruling Party of Regions says more discussion is needed.

“We haven’t talked about the question of the prime minister’s nomination, which is the president’s privilege. We know that the president is going to organise consultations on that, which we expect will take place tomorrow (Wednesday) or Thursday,” said Party of Regions MP Volodymyr Oliynyk.

Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko of the UDAR party called on Yanukovych to intervene to get riot police off the streets and avoid further conflict.

“I’m addressing the President of Ukraine. The responsibility and authority is in his hands and only he can manage the situation. I’m addressing him as a responsible politician, asking him to call for early parliamentary and presidential elections. This will make the temperature within society cool down,” he said.

The parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Rybak has said the president will submit his nomination for the current vacant post of prime minister to the chamber this week, following Mykola Azarov’s resignation last month.

Asked whether the candidate would be chosen from the Party of Regions, Rybak said he could not answer. However he pointed out that the nominees included representatives from other parties.

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