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Ukrainian Parties Block Central Bank Vote in Tymoshenko Protest

Ukrainian opposition parties blocked a ballot to approve a new central bank head, demanding lawmakers discuss changes to the criminal code that would release former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from prison.

Deputies surrounded the speaker’s rostrum to prevent today’s ballot to approve Ihor Sorkin as central bank governor. As well as demanding debate on amendments to free Tymoshenko and former Interior Minister Yuriy Lytsenko, opposition politicians sought confirmation of European Union integration plans, opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk said.

President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions won the most votes in October elections, though he fell short of a majority. Tymoshenko was was jailed for seven years in 2011 for abuse of office during her time as premier. She says Yanukovych engineered the trial to keep her out of last year’s ballot.

“It’s not important for Ukraine who’ll govern the central bank as under any conditions it will be Yanukovych,” Yatsenyuk told lawmakers. “We demand inclusion into the agenda of an amnesty bill that would free Tymoshenko and Lytsenko from political persecution.”

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