Ukraine's President Yanukovich declares early elections, constitutional reforms
Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich has announced early presidential elections. He also said that the constitution of 2004, which limits presidential powers, will be returned. This was one of the main demands by the opposition.
Yanukovich also said he will start the process of creating a national unity government.
The government and the opposition leaders have been negotiating a deal throughout the night, following two days of violence that has seen 80 people killed. One of the conditions for the deal’s implementation is an end to the violence that has engulfed the country.
The Ukrainian constitution of 2004 limits the powers of the president and gives more authority to the parliament.
“I declare the initiation of early presidential elections. I also invoke a return to the Constitution of 2004 with the redistribution of powers in the direction of a parliamentary republic,” says the official statement on the presidential website.
“I summon to begin formation of the government of national trust,” declared the Ukrainian president.
Ukraine opposition leader, Vitaly Klitschko, has told the German media outlet, Bild, that the united opposition is ready to sign a EU-brokered deal with Viktor Yanukovich, if the president agrees to continue talks with protesters.
"We will sign the deal," Klitschko told Bild as quoted by Reuters.
"We are prepared to do everything to obtain a peaceful solution. I told the German foreign minister I would personally appeal to protesters before signing," Klitschko said, adding that "All arguments must be considered before it comes to a signature."
The president’s ruling Party of Regions has spoken in favor of both presidential initiatives.
“We do support all the decisions of the president. This is a compromise solution,” MP Vladimir Oleinik told Itar-TASS news agency, adding that the parliamentary faction of the Party of Regions is going to vote in favor of the decision.
Oleinik stressed that such support is a step which was unimaginable yesterday, because it would have ended up with the formation of two governments, one by the president, another one by the parliament.
“That would be diarchy,” Oleinik said.
The governors of the western regions of Ukraine have come to the presidential administration in Kiev to elaborate a plan of ensuring the normal functioning of administrations in the given conditions of domestic political crisis.
“We are aiming at stopping the escalation of the conflict, ensuring public security, maintaining dialogue with the protesters, finding compromises and supporting the efficiency of emergency services,” a source in the presidential administration told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski commented on Friday that after President Yanukovich announced his readiness to hold early presidential elections, Ukraine was at a “delicate moment.”
"All sides need to remember that compromise means getting less than 100 percent," Sikorski posted on Twitter.
Earlier the Ukrainian LB.ua news outlet published the main details of the draft peace agreement between the Ukrainian authorities and the united opposition. The conciliation agreement was discussed yesterday by leaders of the united opposition and President Viktor Yanukovich.
The document specifies the major steps needed to be taken towards national reconciliation.
First and foremost it declares that the “constitutional takeover” of 2010 must be eliminated within 24 hours and the previous variant of the constitution adopted in 2004 must be returned. The document considers it necessary to “polish up” the 2004 constitution designed for the transition of Ukraine from a presidential form of government to a parliamentary one.
Formation of a new coalition government must be fulfilled within 10 days.
Official Kiev must undertake an obligation to conduct a joint investigation together with the EU of the “crimes against peaceful civilians” in downtown Kiev in December 2013 – February 2014 that took the lives of approximately 80 people.