Ukrainian opposition parties ended their blockade of parliament after nearly three weeks. The protesters had been taking a stand against proxy voting practices, which they say favour the ruling Party of Regions.
The filibuster finally ended when members of parliament agreed to introduce changes to voting procedures and punishments for those who do not comply. The bill must still be approved by President Victor Yanukovich to become law.
MPs also voted on a European integration bill. Oleksandr Yefremov of the Party of Regions said, “The signal we send is to confirm again that the main goal of Ukraine is to become a part of the European Union.”
But boxer-turned-politician Vitaliy Klitschko, leader of the UDAR party, says Ukraine has a long way to go to become a European democracy.
“The key values in Europe are freedom of speech, as well as respect for citizens and the rule of law. Unfortunately, if we look at Ukraine today – there’s no rule of law and we can only dream of those values,” Klitschko said.
Euronews’ Evgeniya Rudenko reports from Kyiv: “The round-the-clock blockade is over and members of parliament have voted on two important bills. Now parliament is quiet, as MPs head off – to return on March 5.”