Government And Opposition In Crisis Talks

KIEV, Ukraine -- Pro-government and opposition groups are in talks to defuse Ukraine's latest political crisis by holding an emergency session of Parliament and to approve legislation required for closer integration with the European Union, a lawmaker said Tuesday.

Oleksandr Popov, Kiev's de facto Mayor, appointed by Yanukovych.

Parliament has been effectively blocked by the opposition groups since April 3 in protest of the ruling Regions Party’s delay of Kiev's mayoral election.

The crisis deepened on April 4 when the Regions Party, jointly with its ally Communist Party and some independent lawmakers held a controversial session outside Parliament to approve some 20 bills.

The opposition groups called the session – and the bills approved – unconstitutional.

“I know that work is underway for the emergency session of Parliament,” Volodymyr Kurinniy, a lawmaker from the Udar party, said in an interview with TVi.

“The agenda for the session has been already drafted and it contains demands of the opposition groups.”

“So, this way we’ll be able to remove the hurdle and exit this parliamentary deadlock that there is today,” Kurinniy said.

The opposition groups earlier aired its main demands such as holding a vote of no-confidence in the government of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, and perhaps scheduling the Kiev mayoral election for later this year.

Parliament was blocked for the third time in four months underscoring serious challenges that the government is facing for approval of key legislation and reforms. 

The persistent blockage of Parliament also postponed important legislation that needs to be approved by the end of May to bring Ukraine closer to the EU and to make sure that Ukraine and the EU sign a free trade and political association agreement in November.

Kurinniy said the pro-European legislation may also be scheduled for vote during the emergency session.

“Everything that deals with the European integration can really be supported,” he said.

The political crisis unfolded on April 2 when Regions Party effectively defeated an attempt by opposition groups to schedule the Kiev mayoral election for June 2. 

Without the Kiev mayoral vote scheduled, the city will continue to be effectively run by Oleksandr Popov, an appointee and an ally of President Viktor Yanukovych.

The opposition groups, which have overwhelming electoral support in Kiev, wanted to schedule the election on June 2.

A victory by an opposition candidate would energize the opposition supporters ahead of the presidential election in March 2015.

It would allow control over key city infrastructure that will be an important asset if confrontation escalates during the presidential election, as many opposition figures expect.

Source: Ukrainian Journal