KIEV, April 4 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian lawmakers from the ruling Party of Regions voted on Thursday in favor of holding sessions in an alternative location to the parliament building, as the opposition interrupted work at the Verhovna Rada for the third day in a row.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian opposition lawmakers blocked the speaker’s rostrum and the presidium part of the country’s parliament after the pro-presidential majority refused to set a date for mayoral and city council elections in the capital Kiev.
Surpassing the 226 votes needed for a majority, 244 MPs voted to hold sessions in a building on Bankovaya Street, which is home to Ukraine’s parliamentary commissions.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the leader of Ukraine’s opposition party Batkyvshchyna (Fatherland), said any decision made by the lawmakers outside the Rada would be considered illegitimate and an attempt to overthrow the constitution.
“Any decision made outside the walls of the parliament is an attempt to overthrow the constitution and direct grounds for impeaching the president,” Yatsenyuk said.
As the majority of the lawmakers moved to the building on Bankovaya Street, opposition members of the parliament began an alternative session in the Verhovna Rada.
At a session on Tuesday, the majority of lawmakers voted against setting June 2 as the date for mayoral and city council elections and requested the Constitutional Court to voice its opinion on the issue.
The opposition accuses the pro-presidential Party of Regions of deliberately delaying the elections for fear of losing them. The opposition enjoys strong support in the capital, with boxing heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko being one of the city’s most popular politicians.
The acting mayor of the capital is currently Halyna Hereha, but most of the mayor’s powers were transferred in 2010 to the Head of Kiev City State Administration, Oleksandr Popov. The latter is a position appointed by President Viktor Yanukovych.