Ukraine Deal Eliminates Presidential Powers, Protesters Still Not Satisfied
Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich signed a deal with opposition leaders that curbs his powers, holds early elections and releases his 2010 presidential opponent, Yulia Tymoshenko, from prison. But not all Ukrainians are happy, and protesters said they will stay until Yanukovich resigns.
Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine has been home to protesters since late November after President Viktor Yanukovich rejected a trade deal with European Union (EU) in favor of a $15 billion bailout from Russia. Violence intensified on February 18th and almost 100 people were dead by Friday. This forced the United States and EU to force restrictions on Ukraine, which led to Yanukovich no choice but to work with the opposition. Here are a few major points of the deal:
One vote was to amend a law that led to the jailing of Ms Tymoshenko, whose release the EU has long pressed for.
The chamber also asked the president to dismiss acting Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko, who is blamed for ordering the police to open fire on unarmed protesters.
A new national unity government is also to be formed within ten days. Crucially, it will have the authority to reverse the decision that Mr Yanukovych took last November not to press ahead with the EU trade deal.
Unspecified “new electoral laws” will also be passed and a new Central Election Commission formed. A joint investigation will be conducted into violence, in conjunction with the Council of Europe, and Parliament will also pass an amnesty for protesters arrested or charged with crimes during the crisis.
However, the opposition’s main demand was for Yanukovich to resign. He is viewed as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s puppet. He originally won the election in 2004 under suspicions of voter fraud. Protesters gathered in Independence Square and participated in the Orange Revolution. They won the right to a reelection and he ran off against Viktor Yushchenko in a closely monitored race. Yushchenko won by a large margin.
Yanukovich ran again in 2010 against Tymoshenko. He won, again, under the same fears, but he jailed her right after the elections. Her supporters have been working relentlessly to free her and she is considered Ukraine’s most celebrated political prisoner.
While the deal reduces Yanukovich’s power and the majority of his cabinet is fired, the protesters will not be satisfied until he is gone and rejected the deal. Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko was booed when he tried to address the crowd.
The Telegraph found many people in the Square who said they will not leave until Yanukovich resigns.
A president impeachment bill was introduced to parliament late Friday. Radical groups said they will take action if he does not resign by 10AM on Saturday.