Just 186 MPs – 40 short of threshold – vote for opposition motion to bring down embattled regime over PM’s refusal to sign EU trade agreement
Photo: SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images
By Roland Oliphant
1:08PM GMT 03 Dec 2013
The Ukrainian parliament refused to pass a vote of no confidence against the government on Tuesday, confounding opposition plans to bring down the embattled regime and plunging the country into an irresolvable deadlock over its European future.
After a fractious morning of debate during which deputies often struggled to make themselves heard over catcalling and shouting, just 186 MPs voted for the opposition motion – 40 short of the 226 vote threshold needed to bring down Prime Minister Mykola Azarov’s government.
The vote came as NATO foreign ministers called for a solution to the unrest sparked by the government’s failure to sign a trade and assocation deal with Europe. “We condemn the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators in Ukraine,” the ministers said in a statement.
John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, urged the government to “listen to the voices of its people who want to live in freedom and in opportunity and prosperity”, insisting: “Violence has no place in a modern European state.”
Mr Azarov, who has become a hate figure for the opposition since bowing to Russian pressure to postpone the deal with Europe, showed no sign of bowing to calls for resignation during a defiant appearance before the deputies on Tuesday afternoon.
Ukrainian Protesters Continue To Rally Despite Parliament’s Failure to Oust the Government
The outcome of the Ukraine protests will determine the country’s future
December 3, 2013
Ukraine’s opposition has failed to force out the government with a no-confidence vote in
Protesters continue to demand the resignation of the Ukrainian government led by President Victor Yanukovich and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, despite the parliament’s failure to legally oust the regime with a no-confidence vote.
As Ukrainian opposition protesters clogged the street outside of the parliament building in Kiev Tuesday morning, 186 lawmakers voted in favor of the no-confidence motion. However, they fell short of the 226 votes required to abolish the cabinet.
The protests and rallies were ignited in November, with Ukraine’s last minute rejection of an EU trade deal that was expected to secure long term economic benefits and create closer ties with the influential European governing body. This decision highlights Ukraine’s divergent views of its future, with its western regions bearing pro-European views and its eastern regions leaning towards its Russian past.
The protesters perceived the decision as a shift backwards, to the country’s time under Soviet rule Reuters News Agency reported.
Ukraine govt survives ‘no confidence’ vote amid mass protests
Published time: December 03, 2013 10:43
Edited time: December 03, 2013 18:10
Protesters stay in front of riot policemen guarding the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev prior the parliament session on December 3, 2013. (AFP Photo/Sergei Supinsky)
Ukraine’s Cabinet has survived a vote of no confidence initiated by opposition MPs in the Verkhovna Rada. The decision was announced as thousands of opposition supporters rallied outside the parliament building.
Follow RT’s LIVE UPDATES on protests in Kiev.
Only 186 MPs voted for the motion, well short of the simple majority of 226 needed for it to pass.
Ahead of the vote, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov gave a speech in parliament, both appeasing the opposition members with promises of resuming talks with the EU and criticizing them over the current unrest on the streets of Kiev.
Azarov’s major bargaining chip was apparently the EU’s alleged readiness to make concessions to Ukraine.
“Yesterday, in my presence, the president of Ukraine had a long telephone conversation with the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso,” Azarov said.
“We have agreed that we’ll go on with the talks on the conditions for a deal on integration and a free trade zone. Both the EC and the EU are ready to consider the issue of financial compensation to Ukraine.”
The PM’s speech was peppered with chants of “Resign!” from some opposition MPs, who also demanded Azarov switch from speaking Russian to Ukrainian, which he would not do.
Azarov apologized for law enforcement agencies’ actions during the dispersal of the pro-EU rally last week, and said that all those responsible for violence would face charges. At the same time, he called on the opposition to immediately end the blockade of the Cabinet of Ministers’ building.
“You’ll be held responsible for this,” he told MPs.
In addition to the cabinet building, protesters have blocked off the National Bank, the Trade Union building, and the Kiev mayor’s offices.
On Tuesday, the PM, cabinet and other government officials could not get to their workplaces, blocked off by the protesters, spokesman Vitaly Lukyanenko told RIA news agency.
“This creates serious tension in in the work of the government,” he complained. “It’s fulfilling its responsibilities, but in a way it’s far from normal.”