Ukraine: Brawls as parliament votes to decide prime minister (VIDEO)


There were chaotic scenes in Ukraine's parliament on its first two days in session, as opposition members fought with the ruling party over who should be the next prime minister and speaker.



A vote in Ukraine's parliament descended into fist fights Thursday, as members violently disputed who should become prime minister.

The ruling Party of Regions eventually managed to secure the majority needed for incumbent Mykola Azarov, an ally of President Viktor Yanukovich, to return for a second term, Reuters reported.

The party's Volodymyr Rybak was also elected as speaker.

Thursday was in fact the second day of brawling, according to the Kyiv Post. The new parliament, the result of disputed elections in October, had its first session Wednesday — and it was, if anything, even more chaotic.

Members of Ukraine's three opposition groups blocked, physically, the ruling party's efforts to get Azarov and Rybak elected, storming the podium and chanting "Shame! Shame!"

Videos show lawmakers yelling at, shoving and even hitting each other. (Nothing they haven't done before, incidentally.)

Outside, meanwhile, women from nude protest group FEMEN held a topless demonstration against government corruption, before being dragged away by police.

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Between them, the three opposition groups — the Fatherland coalition of jailed former premier Yulia Tymoshenko, boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko’s Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms, and the far-right Freedom party — won 178 of the Ukrainian parliament's 450 seats.

The Party of Regions has 210, with support from its traditional allies, the Communists.

The opposition factions have loosely agreed to band together and "torpedo" the ruling party's proposed legislation, RIA Novosti said.

The turbulent first two days in session have made clear just what a battle it will be to obtain any kind of consensus, according to the Kyiv Post, which gave this gloomy verdict:

"Watching the first day of the new parliament is almost like watching a reality show, except for the grim thought in the back of one's mind that this collection of squabbling people will make the country's laws for the next five years."

Watch the Associated Press video of Thursday's fights: