Ukraine’s parliament has concluded a session without approving changes to the constitution that would have curtailed the powers of the president, esentially meaning returning to the 2004 version of the Ukrainian Constitution.
According to opposition UDAR party leader Vitali Klitschko, such a reform is needed to end the crisis that has persisted in the two months since the government turned its back on closer ties to the European Union. Moreover, he warned that unless something is being done, social protests will escalate again.
Meanwhile, the rulling Party of Regions says President Yanukovych has already made concessions by accepting the government’s resignation, as well as agreeing to dismiss controversial antiprotest legislation and to a conditional amnesty for detained protesters.
However, the opposition considers the measures insufficient and pushes for early presidential and parliamentary elections.
In Brussels on February 4, Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton, commented on the possibility of early elections in Ukraine:
“What we have been saying very consistently is that we need to see a political solution, and, of course, there are clear elements that this solution needs to contain,” Kocijancic said. “We talked about elections that need to be free and fair, but for when they take place, this is something for the Ukrainians to decide.”