Sunday 25 February 2018

Video: Our rowdy TDs look like pussycats compared to mass brawlers in Ukraine parliament

Scuffles broke out at the first session of newly-elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev
Scuffles broke out at the first session of newly-elected Ukrainian parliament in Kiev

THE rowdy scenes in the Dail yesterday had nothing on the chaos in Ukraine's new parliament this morning when mass brawls erupted among deputies.

Groups of deputies wrestled with each other around parliament's main rostrum after the opposition tried physically to block a vote on the ruling Party of the Regions' nomination for the position of speaker.

The scenes were much more serious than the bickering at Leinster House yesterday that led to the Dail being suspended twice and Sinn Fein TD Padraig Mac Lochlainn ejected for persistently ignoring the Ceann Comhairle.

The mayhem in the Ukraine follows chaos yesterday when opposition deputies paralysed the session by encircling the rostrum and sabotaged plans of the ruling coalition to ease Mykola Azarov into a second term as prime minister.

Today, opposition deputies swarmed around the rostrum when a vote on the appointment of Vladimir Rybak, the Regions' candidate for speaker, was about to be announced, and clashed with a group of Regions deputies.

Azarov, a staid 64-year-old conservative re-nominated by President Viktor Yanukovich for a new term as prime minister, looked on bemused as deputies tussled and wrestled with each other. The session was suspended until later in the day.

The opposition, which includes deputies loyal to jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, nationalists from the far-right Svoboda and a liberal party led by boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, accuse the ruling coalition of trying to ram through voting despite violations of parliamentary rules.

The vote on Azarov's nomination will be an early test of the support that Yanukovich, who is expected to bid for a second term as president in 2015, commands in the new chamber.

The pro-business Party of the Regions and their allies enjoyed a strong majority in the last parliament.

But though it is still the biggest single party, it lost seats in the October 28 election and faces an opposition which has been re-energised by the arrival of the Svoboda nationalists and Klitschko's UDAR (Punch) party.

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