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Protesters in Kiev support opposition’s initiative to limit presidential authorities

February 09, 2014, 18:28 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, February 09, /ITAR-TASS/. Participants in the so-called “popular veche” (assembly) in the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev on Sunday voiced support to the opposition’s initiatives to limit the competences of the head of state and to switch to the parliamentary-presidential for of government in the country.

The initiatives to amend the country’s constitution were voiced by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the leader of the opposition party Batkivshchina (Fatherland) parliamentary faction. “All members of the cabinet of ministers should be appointed not by the president but by the parliament,” he said. “The head of state should not have the authority to appoint top officials of the Prosecutor General’s Office, Ukraine’s Security Service and the Anti-monopoly Committee.”

“Anyone, who will occupy the president’s office, must know that his or her competences will be limited,” Yatsenyuk stressed. “One hundred and fifty lawmakers [a third of the entire number of seats in the Verkhovna Rada, or parliament- Itar-Tass] must have the right to send the head of state to resignation.”

He accused the authorities of protracting the negotiating process with the opposition. In his words, the “fight against the regime” could reach the goal only by means of mass protest actions and thanks to the “support from Western partners.” “We have Western partners who have already begun to translate words into deeds,” he said. “For the first time in the entire 20 years of Ukraine’s independence, the United States and the European Union have clearly agreed on a package of economic and political aid for Ukraine’s new government.”

Another opposition leader, Vitaliy Klitschko, spoke about the constitutional reform. He urged to readopt the 2004 constitution as soon as possible and then to begin work on a new constitution of the country. He said that at his meeting with President Vitrok Yanukovich, the latter had called to begin the work on the amendments to the constitution. But, “people cannot wait,” Klitschko stressed. “People will not wait for another six months. We can return to the 2004 constitution and only then begin to work on a new constitution,” he said.

Oleg Tygnibok, the leader of the nationalist party Svoboda (Freedom) expressed readiness to support such mechanism of the constitutional reform.

The UDAR leader also said that President Yanukovich had offered him to hold public debates. So, he invited the president to attend the next such “veche” to debate “before the public eye.”

The opposition leaders called on people to enroll in “popular self-defence” squads that “are to appear in each city, in each district.” Klitschko also called on protesters to set up grass-roots strike committees to organize a warning action in front of state administration buildings across the country on February 13. According to Klitschko, it was not ruled out that the Verkhovna Rada (national parliament) would gather for an extraordinary meeting.

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