Deutsche Welle, 22 February 2014
Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko has called on the Ukrainian parliament to dismiss President Yanukovych and set early elections no later than May 25. On Friday, both sides signed a deal aimed at ending the conflict.
During an emergency session of parliament on Saturday, opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urged lawmakers to pass a resolution calling on President Yanukovych to "immediately" resign over this week's use of deadly police force that killed more than 70 protesters.
"Today, parliament is the only legitimate body of power," Klitschko told the session.
He also took to Twitter to call for early elections to be set for no later than May 25.
On Friday, President Yanukovych and opposition leaders signed a breakthrough deal aimed at ending months of political instability. The deal foresees the implementation of key political reforms including provisions to carry out constitutional reforms by September, paving the way for elections by December 2014.
Despite the pact, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters remained on Kyiv's Independence Square overnight, the site of mass protests over the past three months.
Klitschko, a heavyweight boxing champion turned politician, also told the session that Yanukovych has “left the capital.”
According to media reports, the president's residence outside the capital was empty and unguarded and journalists were entering freely.
The president's whereabouts have not been confirmed, but he had been due to visit the northeastern city of Kharkiv.
Parliament speaker resigns
Meanwhile, Ukraine's pro-government parliament speaker Volodymyr Rybak submitted his resignation Saturday citing ill health.
Rybak's decision came as several deputies said they were quitting the president's ruling Regions Party in protest at the use of police force against protesters.
Following Friday's deal, lawmakers wasted little time in voting through several significant motions. A return to the 2004 constitution, which moves significant powers from the president back to parliament, was the first matter to be voted on.
Decisions to grant amnesty to demonstrators arrested in the anti-government protests followed. A vote to release ex-premier, and Yanukovych rival, Yulia Tymoshenko was then held, with 310 lawmakers of around 380 in favor. It is as yet unclear, however, when she will be released from jail in Kharkiv.
The deal was brokered by an envoy of three European foreign ministers - Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Poland's Radoslaw Sikorsi and Laurent Fabius of France. Yanukovych signed the pact, alongside opposition leaders Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleh Tyahnybok.
hc/tj (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)