Ukrainian president, protesters agree early election

KIEV - Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition protesters have agreed to an early presidential poll before the end of the year.

The election is part of a deal to end the country's political crisis.

The deal has not been published, but Mr Yanukovych referred to a national unity government and constitutional changes reducing the president's power.

The compromise came after hours of talks between mediated by three European foreign ministers.

The German and Polish ministers met protesters in Kiev's Independence Square before announcing their leaders backed the deal.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski tweeted that the rival sides were "about to sign" the agreement and hailed the deal as a "good compromise for Ukraine" which would open the way "to reform and to Europe".

Ukrainian broadcaster ICTV said it had seen a copy of the agreement, which included three main proposals:

    The 2004 constitution will be restored within 48 hours, and a national unity government will be formed within 10 days
    Constitutional reform balancing the powers of president, government and parliament will be started immediately and completed by September
    A presidential election will be held after the new constitution is adopted but no later than December 2014

Despite the agreement, isolated outbursts of violence were reported in central Kiev on Friday morning.

The police said they had traded gunfire with protesters, and Ukrainian media said riot police were patrolling inside parliament during a session.

Despite the agreement, isolated outbursts of violence were reported in central Kiev on Friday morning.

The police said they had traded gunfire with protesters, and Ukrainian media said riot police were patrolling inside parliament during a session.

MPs once again began the session with scuffles, as the speaker tried to adjourn a debate about constitutional reform.

The protests first erupted in late November when President Yanukovych rejected a landmark association and trade deal with the EU in favour of closer ties with Russia.

Mr Yanukovych announced the deal early on Friday, but initially gave no details.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said there had been an agreement that nobody would publicise the deal until it had been confirmed.

However, the president later gave more details and said in a statement that he would initiate the process of constitutional reform and call an early election.

The deal came after the bloodiest day since the unrest began.

Police opened fire early on Thursday after protesters tried to push them away from the makeshift camps they have been occupying in central Kiev.

The health ministry said 77 people had been killed since Tuesday, and another 577 were injured.

But activists suggested the death toll was likely to be much higher.

On Friday the US state department issued a travel warning advising its citizens to "defer non-essential travel" to Ukraine, saying that it had authorised "the departure of all family members of U.S. government personnel from Ukraine".

Comments (1)

Just goes to show what can happen when ordinary citizens have the courage to take on an oppressive government. A lesson for us, I wonder??

saundy - 24 February 2014

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.