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12 Nov, 2008 08:48

Fists fly in Ukrainian parliament

Ukrainian politics descended into farce on Wednesday when MPs resorted to throwing punches in the chamber. The row broke out over the dismissal of Parliamentary Speaker, Arseny Yatsenyuk. He was eventually sacked when 233 MPs voted to remove him, with 226

Earlier in the day the opposition Party of Regions initiated voting to suspend Yatsenyuk from duties for two days. The majority of deputies supported the initiative.

However, supporters of Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko's Bloc opposed the motion. They attempted to prevent the deputies from voting by blocking the electronic voting system. As a result, fighting broke out.

But voting went ahead despite the brawl, and this time with a motion to dismiss the Speaker altogether. This was the worst possible outcome for Yulia Timoshenko's Bloc. According to the law, the prime minister and the government may have to resign when the Speaker is dismissed.

However, the deputy head of the Party of Regions has said the faction does not intend to initiate the dissolution of the government for three months.

Meanwhile Yulia Timoshenko has said her bloc will make efforts to restore the democratic coalition in the same make-up or with the addition of the Litvin Bloc.

The Party of Regions to nominate Aleksandr Lavrinovich as their candidate for parliamentary Speaker.

The dismissed Speaker, a member of the pro-presidential Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defence bloc, said he will start forming a new political force in the country.

Ssked whether the new party would be supporting President Yushchenko, Arseny Yatsenyuk said the “political force will be supporting the majority of Ukrainians”.