Hroisman elected speaker of parliament
Volodymyr Hroisman was elected the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament on Thursday in the first big vote taken by the new post-revolution crop of MPs in Ukraine.
Hroisman, an ally of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and deputy prime minister to the current premier Arseniy Yatensiuk, had been widely expected to take the post, and was approved with a vote of 359 for, 0 against, and 3 abstentions. Another 46 MPs did not vote.
MPs are later to vote on the reappointment of Yatseniuk as prime minister, and earlier announced the creation of a governing coalition in parliament between the five largest parties in the Rada: the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko, the Popular Front, the Samopomich Party, the Radical Party and the Batkivshyna Party.
Meanwhile, there is a heavy police presence near the parliament building to maintain public order. Earlier civil activists promised to prevent MPs who voted for the “Dictatorship Laws” of January 16 from entering the parliament.
More than 60 MPs from the previous parliament who voted for these laws have been re-elected. The laws, which were put forward by supporters of then President Viktor Yanukovych, were modelled on Russian laws that grant the president strong powers and significantly restrict civil liberties.
The passing of the laws on January 16 is one of the factors that sparked the violent response from Ukrainian protesters on January 19 to Yanukovych’s efforts to quell opposition to his regime.