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New Ukraine Parliament Opens Amid Protests

  • VOA News

Lawmakers fight in Ukraine's parliament in Kyiv, Ukraine, December 12, 2012.

Lawmakers fight in Ukraine's parliament in Kyiv, Ukraine, December 12, 2012.

Ukraine's new parliament convened Wednesday in a session marred by protests and fist fights.

The session was the first since President Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions secured a slim majority in October elections that observers say were marred by fraud.

During the session, a fight broke out when several opposition lawmakers attacked two legislators suspected of defecting from the opposition to the pro-government party.


Meanwhile, outside the parliament building, a group of topless women protested against government corruption. Several of the activists from the group Femen were detained.

Lawmakers are expected to vote later Wednesday to elect a speaker, as well as vote on reinstating President Yanukovych's ally Mykola Azarov to the post of prime minister.

Western observers slammed Ukraine's October legislative elections as unfair because President Yanukovych's main rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, and other opposition members are imprisoned and unable to run. Also, observers criticized what they called a lack of transparency in the vote count.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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