Ukraine opposition demands presidential polls this year
Ukrainian opposition leader and boxing champion Vitali Klitschko on Saturday said he wanted presidential elections this year and vowed the opposition would not yield in its demands.
His comments to tens of thousands packed into Independence Square in Kiev gave no clear answer to an offer from President Viktor Yanukovych to give the post of prime minister to the opposition and end Ukraine’s deadly crisis.
“Our demand is the holding of presidential elections this year… We will not yield but talks will continue,” he told protesters, some of whom whistled in impatience.
Presidential elections are currently only due in early 2015.
Nationalist leader Oleg Tyagnybok, the head of the right wing Svoboda (Freedom) party told the protesters that “the fight continues” and urged everyone in Ukraine to come to Independence Square to protest.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the head of the Fatherland party who was offered the post of prime minister by the president, gave no clear direct response to the proposal to head the government in his speech.
He said the opposition was prepared to take on responsibility but added: “The people will determine the power in Ukraine. We will not step down from our position.”
He added that the opposition did not believe “one the word” of what the authorities say and would only accept actions.
Yanukovych’s proposal to let the opposition head the government and also change the constitution is the most serious attempt yet to end a crisis that has caused deadly clashes and left at least three dead according to the authorities.