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Limiting speech: Ukrainian parliament rejects initiatives to abolish language bill

May 14, 15:14 UTC+3 KIEV

None of the four draft documents received the necessary minimum of 226 votes

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Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andrei Parubiy

Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andrei Parubiy

© Pavlo Conchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

KIEV, May 14. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) has rejected all four draft documents cancelling the results of the vote on the Ukrainian Language Bill. None of the documents received the necessary minimum of 226 votes.

As a result, Rada Speaker Andrei Parubiy got the right to sign the bill and submit it to President Pyotr Poroshenko for signing.

Lawmakers who called for abolishing the language bill pointed out that there had been a lot of "button-pressing" during the April 25 vote on the bill, when legislators had cast votes not only for themselves but also for other members of their factions.

The bill approved by the Verkhovna Rada on April 25 stipulates that all Ukrainian citizens from now on are obliged to use the Ukrainian language in all areas of life. Special language inspectors will monitor compliance. They will be empowered to attend any state agency’s meetings, collect documents from public organizations and political parties for examination and issue fines.

However, Ukraine’s opposition forces said they would use mechanisms to abolish the law if it was signed. Member of the "Opposition Platform - For Life" party Nestor Shufrich said the opposition would file a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court, since the law was unconstitutional. Besides, an initiative was placed on a website for parliamentary petitions, which calls for suspending the Verkhovna Rada’s decision to approve the language bill. The initiative needs to gain at least 25,000 votes to be considered.

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