Thursday, May 25, 2006

First day back in VR

The Verkhovna Rada of the fifth convocation, which was elected on March 26, gathered for its first session in Kyiv today. Newly elected deputies took an oath of office and the text of the oath was read out by the oldest parliamentarian, Ivan Herasymov from the Communist Party.

The initial festive atmosphere soon turned sour. [some nice photos here and here including this one below: My caption - Yanukovych is saying, "I'm not going to hurt you....yet..]

The formation of an Orange coalition seems to have taken a major step forward. The deputies of NSNU, BYuT, and the Socialists all voted together [an impressive 240 votes] to adjourn the VR until 7th June.

PRU and Communist deputies tried to block the dais and prevent the vote taking place, or at least call for a 'time-out' to discuss the matter further, and the usual verbal 'custard pie fight' ensued.

About 60 of their deputies surrounded the acting [Socialist] speaker's chair, but their attempt to halt proceedings failed. Maybe the tactics of which I wrote a few days ago are paying off already.

The orange fractions say is that they need the two-week break to form their coalition.

Later, in a press-conference Yuliya Tymoshenko castigated PRU for their behaviour, which included mass stamping of feet, whistling and shouting. "I want to say this is not a soccer ground, it is not a 'Shakhtar vs Dynamo' game, so I ask deputies to be civilized and tolerant," she said.
Before the Orange revolution, the then-opposition used similar tactics too. Once, while she was addressing the VR and saw the PRU deputies had entered the chamber wearing blue and white scarves which they waved to taunt her, she sneered at them, "I'm pleased you all have your scarves - something to hang yourself on when you lose the elections.."

Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's richest businessman and PRU 'banker', on his first day as a Ukrainian VR deputy was quoted as saying, "If there are going to be any fights in Parliament, I want to remind everyone I was a boxer for 7 years.." [And what else..?]

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