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Economically troubled Ukraine witnesses power handover

English.news.cn   2014-02-24 05:45:06

KIEV, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- As the country's opposition cemented its position in the parliament, the economically troubled Ukraine experienced on Sunday a dramatic shift in power.

In the morning, Ukrainian lawmakers voted to sack the acting ministers of health, education and foreign affairs and hand over the duties of president to parliament Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov.

Describing the economic situation in his country as " catastrophic," Turchynov said Ukraine's national coffers were empty, while the pension fund and banking system were facing serious problems.

Turchynov pledged to focus on financial issues during his office and ordered the lawmakers to speed up the formation of the parliament's majority to improve the economic situation.

Turchynov also instructed his subordinates to form the new interim government of national unity by next Tuesday. The cabinet is expected to gather representatives of different Ukrainian political forces, to gain the confidence among demonstrators and politically inactive citizens from both eastern and western Ukraine.

Opposition lawmaker Mykola Tomenko, an ally of Turchynov, said there were three front-runners to be named as head of the new cabinet, namely Petro Poroshenko, a businessman who served as Minister of Economy during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, opposition leader Arseny Yatsenyuk and the newly freed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

However, Tymoshenko said later in the day that she would not run for premiership in the interim government.

Tymoshenko, who was released from prison on Saturday in accordance with the fast-track procedure approved by the parliament, is widely seen as a fierce rival of the dismissed president Yanukovych.

Yanukovych, who left the capital late Friday to take part in a regional meeting in Kharkov city near the Russian border, is believed to still reside in eastern Ukraine in the house of his trustees.

According to the State Border Service, the presidential plane was trying to take off from the airport in eastern Ukraine late Saturday, but was denied permission over lack of proper documents.

Meanwhile, the ruling Party of Regions described the escape of Yanukovych as "cowardice" and blamed the dismissed president for issuing orders that led to violence and deaths of people during the anti-government demonstrations.

"We condemn the criminal orders that harmed the ordinary people, soldiers and officers," the Party of Regions said in a press statement.

The anti-government rallies, which began last November to back the country's European integration, turned violent on Tuesday. At least 82 people were killed and hundreds of others injured during the violence.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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