Ukraine Opposition Blocks Parliament to Demand Yanukovych Speech

Ukrainian opposition parties blocked parliament, demanding that President Viktor Yanukovych deliver his annual address to lawmakers in person.

Written copies of Yanukovych’s 572-page speech were handed out today and the text was published on the presidential website.

“Instead of Yanukovych’s report to parliament, we’ve just received a document,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who heads jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko’s party, said in the capital, Kiev. “It shows a lack of respect. He should come to parliament and address the nation and lawmakers.”

Ex-Prime Minister Tymoshenko’s party, world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko’s UDAR and the right-wing Svoboda have blocked parliament on several occasions following October elections in which Yanukovych retained control of the legislature. Opposition politicians have challenged ballot results in some districts and called for a mayoral vote in Kiev.

As well as demanding Yanukovych appear for his annual address, Klitschko criticized a proposal by the president’s Party of Regions to hold repeat elections in five districts on Aug. 18.

“The authorities want to hold re-elections when the majority of people are on holiday,” he said. “That would be done to falsify the results.”

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