- Azarov Nominated for Ukrainian PM – Again
- Ukraine President Sacks Prime Minister, Government
- Ukraine’s Ruling Party Gets 72 Seats in New Parliament
- Ukraine’s Ruling Party Wins 30 Percent in Parliamentary Elections
MOSCOW, December 13 (RIA Novosti) – The new Ukrainian parliament finally managed to choose a speaker and reelect Mykola Azarov as prime minister on Thursday after two days of brawling among deputies in the chamber crippled its inaugural session, Ukrainian news service UNIAN reported.
Images of the physical free-for-all, in which opposition deputies took on rivals from the ruling Party of Regions in the Verkhovna Rada’s first session on Wednesday, made international headlines.
The new parliament, elected in the country’s October 28 elections, was widely expected to be divisive after opposition forces made considerable gains.
Those expectations were first borne out on Wednesday, as opposition deputies blocked the Party of Regions’ attempt to reelect Azarov. They also descended on the rostrum on Thursday in a failed attempt to derail the vote for Volodymyr Rybak as speaker.
Members from the Ukrainian female protest group FEMEN, known for its outlandish nude demonstrations, attempted to break into the Rada on Wednesday before being detained.
A lawmaker from the nationalist All-Ukrainian Union “Freedom” party saws through a fence near Ukraine’s parliament building.
While the Party of Regions, which successfully fielded both Rybak and Azarov, remains the largest faction in the 450-seat body with 210 seats, imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's Fatherland opposition faction and world champion boxer Vitaly Klitschko’s Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms (UDAR) now hold 99 and 42 seats, respectively.
The nationalist All-Ukrainian Union “Freedom” also enjoyed a surge in the polls, now holding 37 seats.
Riot police and onlookers watch lawmakers from the Freedom party push down the fence after sawing through its bars.
The latter three forces tentatively agreed after the elections to cooperate in torpedoing legislation backed by the ruling party.
The Verkhovna Rada has a long history of physical altercations between lawmakers.
Klitschko, one of the world's foremost heavyweight boxers, chose to abstain from the fighting, however.
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