Yanukovych impeached with fresh elections on 25th May
The Verkhovna Rada or Parliament of Ukraine voted yesterday to impeach President Viktor Yanukovych in his absence. The vote was passed by 328 votes to 0 in the 450 seat parliament. The significance of this is that around 130 parliamentarians previously on the government benches voted against their own president.
The parliament also agreed to release former Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko as well as calling for a presidential election on 25th May 2014. In an ironic turn of events the Interfax-Ukraine agency reported that former President Viktor Yanukovych had been stopped by border guards at Donetsk as he was trying to leave the country. The Kyiv Post reports that the former president’s ‘whereabouts and fate’ is not now known.
Meanwhile Yulia Tymoshenko addressed a crowd in Kiev’s Independence Square estimated to have been around 100,000 strong. The former Prime Minister concentrated her speech on the sacrifice of the ‘heroes’ who had died in the recent demonstrations and urged crowds to continue their vigil in the square until democracy is restored to the country.
In another bizarre turn of events, the collapse of the government was so quick that the president’s former residence, Mezhyhyria, was left unguarded and quickly became an open house for protesters to tour. Many commented on the luxury and opulence compared with the extreme poverty in many parts of Ukraine.