Ukraine parliament to work on constitution bill

Protests began in November when the president spurned a trade deal with the European Union and turned for financial aid to Moscow. The confrontation in Ukraine has divided Western powers, the EU and United States, which back the opposition, from Russia, which supports President Yanukovich.

Ukraine parliament to work on constitution bill

World Bulletin / News Desk

The parties in Ukraine's deadlocked parliament agreed on Thursday to try to draft a joint bill on constitutional amendments that could be put to a vote as early as next week, the speaker said.

Opposition leaders, backed by protesters in the streets, want a return to a constitution enacted in 2004 that would move substantial powers over the government from the president to parliament - a proposal rejected by President Viktor Yanukovich and his supporters, who have had a majority in the legislature.

Speaker Volodymyr Rybak, from Yanukovich's Party of the Regions, said leaders of the parliamentary groups would meet in committee with himself and representatives of the president with the aim of producing a bill within the next few days.

"Next week, we should take a decision - maybe on Tuesday, Wednesday - to consider this draft law," he told lawmakers.

Party loyalties in the 450-seat, single-chamber parliament have been fluid. It remains unclear that a consensus can be found to change the constitution or that the opposition can rally a majority to push through the amendments it wants.

Yanukovich is expected to name a new prime minister soon to replace the premier who stepped down last week in a so far unsuccessful effort to appease opponents who have occupied central Kiev and public buildings in other cities.

Ultimately, opposition leaders and protesters want rid of Yanukovich, whose rule they see as dominated by corrupt business interests and by pressure from neighbouring Russia.

Protests began in November when the president spurned a trade deal with the European Union and turned for financial aid to Moscow. The confrontation in Ukraine has divided Western powers, the EU and United States, which back the opposition, from Russia, which supports Yanukovich.

EU ready to take part in probe for clashes in Kiev

EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton said the European Union is ready to take part in an investigation into the clashes between police and protesters in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Ashton held a press conference in the aftermath of meetings with President Viktor Yanukovych, opposition leaders and representatives of non-governmental organizations, saying the level of violence in the country was gradually decreasing.

Ashton said those who resorted to violence would be brought to court, adding they wanted to see an independent investigation take place.

She also said she discussed an end to the street violence, as well as constitutional reform and economic issues with Yanukovych.

Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vitaly Klitschko and Oleh Tyahnybok, the leaders of the opposition, met Ashton to discuss the current domestic situation.

Last Mod: 06 Şubat 2014, 13:06
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