KIEV, February 22 (RIA Novosti) - Speaker Volodymyr Rybak opened the second session of Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, on Friday, after more than two weeks of filibustering by opposition deputies, the Kyiv Post reported.
Lawmakers from three opposition factions - Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Vitali Klitschko’s UDAR and the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) Party blocked the speaker’s rostrum on February 5.
Dozens of UDAR members, led by world heavyweight boxing champion Klitschko, have spent days and nights at the parliament’s rostrum in protest against proxy voting by members of the ruling Party of Regions, a practice dubbed “piano playing” by the Ukrainian media. The opposition’s key demand was to insure every member of parliament votes individually and that voting cards are not passed to another person.
The rostrum was unblocked on Friday, to clear the way for a vote on a bill to include a change in the parliamentary procedure which guarantees control in personal voting.
The amendment obliges the parliamentary speaker to start each hearing by listing the names of absent lawmakers and collecting their voting cards.
Lawmakers are also due to vote on Ukraine’s European integration aspirations in the run-up to the Ukraine-EU summit due on February 25 in Brussels.