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Opposition calls for Yanukovich to quit despite peace deal

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-22

Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urged parliament Saturday to pass a resolution calling on President Viktor Yanukovich to resign "immediately" amid reports that he had left the capital.

"We must, as the people demand, adopt a resolution calling on Yanukovich to immediately resign," Klitschko's party quoted the opposition leader as telling Saturday's emergency parliament session.

"Today, parliament is the only legitimate body of power," he said.

Klitschko also called for new elections to be held by May 25.

The call for fresh polls came amid media and opposition reports that Yanukovich had left the capital, leaving the presidential palace unguarded.

Yanukovich's whereabouts were unknown, although he had been due to visit the northeastern city of Kharkiv. Media reports said his residence outside the capital was empty and that journalists were entering the building freely.

"He (Yanukovich) has left the capital," Klitschko told parliament.

In another sign that the Ukrainian regime was increasingly in disarray, parliament Speaker Volodymyr Rybak, a Yanukovich ally, resigned early in the day, citing ill health.

Up to 10,000 people remained on Kiev's charred Independence Square on Saturday morning despite an agreement signed a day earlier between Yanukovich and opposition leaders, including Klitschko.

Mediated by the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland, the agreement included a commitment to early elections and a return to the country’s 2004 constitution, which limited presidential powers.

The Ukrainian parliament also amended the penal code, a move that could see Yanukovich’s rival, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, freed from prison.

US President Barack Obama held talks Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in which both leaders agreed that a fledgling peace deal in Ukraine must be swiftly implemented and that all sides must refrain from violence.

A senior US official described the call as "constructive" while warning that the agreement reached in Kiev between the government and top opposition leaders remained "very, very fragile".

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

 

Date created : 2014-02-22

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