top of page

Ukrainian Government Survives Confidence Vote

the new york times

KIEV, Ukraine — As protesters continued their siege of government buildings and occupation of a landmark plaza in this rattled capital, President Viktor F. Yanukovich survived a no-confidence vote on Tuesday after some lawmakers demanded the resignation of the government. The measure failed as members of the majority Party of Regions stood by Mr. Yanukovich and the government.

The proposal, which needed 226 votes for approval, was backed by 186 lawmakers; 5 voted no, 12 abstained and 135 did not vote. The tally suggested that while few wanted to be on record in support of the government, there was also no major revolt.

Opposition leaders had insisted that the government resign over Mr. Yanukovich’s refusal to sign political and trade agreements with the European Union, as well as the use of force by the police in dispersing a crowd of several hundred from Independence Square early Saturday.

“We demand the resignation of the government, the president and the minister of internal affairs,” Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, the leader of the Fatherland coalition, said Tuesday.

They settled on a resolution, approved overwhelmingly, to summon Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and the rest of the cabinet to Parliament.

Mr. Azarov appeared in Parliament shortly before 1 p.m., where he apologized for the police violence and insisted an investigation was underway. He said that talks would resume next week with the European Union, though officials in Brussels said that the accords were not open for renegotiation, so it was unclear what could change.

European Union officials have said that they remain willing to sign the accords with Ukraine, provided that Ukraine meets the previously agreed conditions. They have refused, however, to engage in three-way negotiations with Russia, as Mr. Yanukovich has proposed.

Thousands of protesters, many of whom have remained in the city center since a huge rally on Sunday, marched to the Parliament building, which was shielded by lines of buses and deep columns of riot police.

Carrying blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flags and chanting, “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to her heroes!” the protesters marched past the Cabinet Ministry, where other demonstrators continued to block the entrances in a seemingly successful bid to paralyze government offices.

The Parliament can be a volatile body, with fistfights occasionally breaking out in the chamber. The proceedings on Tuesday, however, remained mostly civilized, with only intermittent shouting and rude gestures.

At one point during the proceedings, opposition lawmakers began chanting, “Revolution! Revolution!” Outside the Parliament building, protesters shouted, “Resignation!” and “Gang, get out!”

Mr. Yanukovich, in a television interview on Monday night, criticized the unrest, especially the occupation of City Hall in Kiev, but sought to minimize the significance of the demands for his resignation. He said that opposition figures should wait until presidential elections in 2015 to challenge him.

“I urge all politicians not to rush,” he said. “They are all still young, and they have everything ahead of them. Elections are coming. People will determine. Whoever is elected, so be it.”

Mr. Yanukovich left on Tuesday for a visit to China where he was to participate in business development meetings.

Many demonstrators, however, said that they would not relent until Mr. Yanukovich was ousted. “Our demand is impeachment of the president and dismissal of the government,” said Oleksiv Ivannikov, 35, a construction engineer from Kiev, who was in Independence Square, where demonstrators have blocked the plaza and established a small tent city.

“I see no compromises here,” said Mr. Ivannikov. “How long should we go on compromising? When there is this brute force, what compromises can there be?”


bottom of page