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Ukraine Parliament Votes to Remove Government; Rivals Reach Compromise

Yanukovich and his opposition rival Viktor Yushchenko sat down for talks with international mediators after parliament’s vote. They agreed that the opposition would end its blockade of government buildings and they would begin discussing changes to Ukrainian law to end the election crisis, the Associated Press reported.

The Ukrainian election commission declared Yanukovich the winner of the Nov. 21 presidential election, but his rival Yushchenko insists he won and alleges multiple cases of voter fraud.

The Supreme Court is considering the opposition’s charges of voter fraud in the eastern part of Ukraine, which supports Yanukovich. Yanukovich also asked the court to declare part of the run-off results invalid in the pro-Yushchenko western portion of the country. It was not clear if the court would hear his appeal, according to the AP.

Wednesday’s motion of no confidence, which passed with 229 votes in the 450-seat parliament, evoked cheers from tens of thousands of opposition supporters who have set up tents on Kiev’s main avenue and blocked government buildings, paralyzing the capital for 10 days.

The measure automatically triggers the resignation of the Yanukovich government. Current President Leonid Kuchma can allow the government to continue until a new Cabinet is formed, but for no longer than 60 days.

Kuchma is expected to name parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn as the head of a caretaker government, said Kiev-based analyst Markian Bilynskyj, the AP reported.

Pro-Communist parliamentary groups, with Kuchma’s backing, used a similar no-confidence motion to remove Yushchenko as prime minister in 2001, Bilynskyj said.

Earlier Wednesday, Kuchma said he supported holding new elections rather than a revote in the disputed regions. The opposition opposes a new vote, which would bring in more candidates and possibly sideline Yushchenko.

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