KIEV: The Ukrainian parliament on Saturday voted for the resignation of the country’s president Viktor Yanukovich. In addition, it also voted for a resolution according to which early presidential elections will be held May 25.
“As Viktor Yanukovich has abandoned his presidential post (he secretly moved to his residence in Kharkov), the parliament had no choice but to announce early presidential elections,” the text of the resolution stated.
Yanukovich refuses to resign
Earlier in the day, the president accused the opposition of staging a coup d’etat and said that he has no plans to resign.
The president also said that decisions that are currently being taken by the parliament are illegal and that he ‘will not sign any papers given by bandits terrorizing Ukraine.
“I am not leaving the country for anywhere. I do not intend to resign. I am the legitimately elected president,” Yanukovych told a local television station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.
Ukrainian former PM Yulia Tymoshenko released
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was released from jail after the parliament held an emergency meeting that came only hours after the parliament elected Oleksandr Turchynov, a close ally of Tymoshenko, as its new speaker.
Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in 2011 after being charged with abusing power. Her supporters had claimed at the time that Tymoshenko’s conviction was a political revenge spearheaded by her arch-rival President Viktor Yanukovych, who defeated her in a run-off for the presidency in February 2010.
Protests continue despite peace agreement
The anti-government protests continued in the Ukrainian capital Kiev’s Independence Square on Saturday despite a peace agreement between the president and opposition aimed at ending the country’s three-month political crisis.
Under the deal, Yanukovich announced early presidential elections and the return to the constitution of 2004, which limits presidential powers and widens the parliament’s authority. The president also said a national unity government will be created.