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21 Feb, 2014 23:05

Presidential impeachment bill introduced in Ukrainian parliament

Presidential impeachment bill introduced in Ukrainian parliament

A presidential impeachment bill was introduced in Ukrainian parliament on Friday evening. The bill was published on parliament’s website, but no details were provided.


Soon after the bill's introduction, President Viktor Yanukovich left for Kharkov to attend a summit of south-eastern regions, according to media reports.

The new impeachment bill was authored by Nikolay Rudkovskiy, head of the Socialist Party in Ukraine, which is part of the ruling Party of Regions coalition.

Current Ukrainian legislation has an impeachment clause, though it is extremely complex and many argue it is practically impossible to enact, RIA Novosti reported.

The big step forward in talks was taken on Friday as Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich and opposition leaders have signed an EU brokered agreement on ending the political crisis in the country. Yanukovich announced early presidential elections and the return to the constitution of 2004, which limits presidential powers and widens the parliament’s authority. Yanukovich also said a national unity government will be created.

Even though the deal was signed thousands are still protesting in central Kiev. Rioters are now in full control of Kiev’s government district; they have taken over parliament, the president’s administration quarters, the cabinet, and the Interior Ministry, protesters told tyzhden.ua.

AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic

The new deal was supported by many world players, including the UN. “The Secretary-General is encouraged by the agreement reached between President Yanukovich and opposition leaders on a process for the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine,” UN statement said. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon personally called Yanukovich to welcome the move. The UN also urged quick implementation of the agreement in order to deescalate the situation in Ukraine.

Despite the new deal, radical protesters have set their own ultimatum - a new wave of riots if Yanukovich does not step down before 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Opposition leader and head of the UDAR party Vitaly Klitschko was booed while speaking on stage at Maidan Square about the newly signed deal. Klitschko was booed while attempting to speak during a memorial service for a protester killed during recent clashes.

He was then interrupted by a protester who got on stage and declared: “If tomorrow by 10 a.m. you don’t come and tell us that Yanukovich has resigned, we will put up a storm with weapons, I swear.”

Klitschko apologized to protesters who were upset that he shook Yanukovich’s hand. “Believe me - I got no pleasure out of it. If I offended anyone, I apologize for that, but I did it so Ukraine could win. I'm doing everything with sincerity, I'm doing everything in my power to prevent bloodshed, I'm doing everything to make this gang leave,” Unian quoted him as saying.

Later, the leader of far-right group Right Sector, Dmitri Yarosh, took to the stage, telling protesters that the deal reached between the president and the opposition is not acceptable. Yarosh said that his group will not be putting down their arms until Yanukovich resigns.

“The Right Sector will not lay down its arms. The Right Sector will not remove the blockade of one of the government buildings until our most important requirement is fulfilled – the resignation of Yanukovich,” Unian quoted him as saying.

AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic

In the meantime, the Ukrainian parliament voted in favor of a bill that will allow the release from jail of the former Ukrainian prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, on Friday.

310 MPs have voted to decriminalize the article of the Ukrainian law defining the charges under which Timoshenko is serving her term. The former Ukrainian PM was sentenced to 7 years in prison for abuse of office during the signing of the January 2009 natural gas imports contract with Russia.

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is likely to be released from prison on March 1, the Kyiv Post reported, citing the politician’s aunt.

Violence escalated on Tuesday after a group of radicals taking part in a “peaceful march” of the opposition attempted to storm the parliament building. They were repelled by police cordons. Marchers then rushed and looted the nearby unprotected office of the ruling Party of Regions, also setting it on fire.

The opposition moves came despite the agreement on amnesty finally reached between the government and the opposition earlier this week.

Yulia Tymoshenko.(AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)