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Ukrainian Lawmakers Reject Call To Dissolve Parliament After Fistfight

Fracas In Ukraine Parliament Over Language Law
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WATCH: Violent scuffles erupted in Ukraine's parliament late on May 24 between lawmakers of the pro-Western opposition and counterparts from President Viktor Yanukovych's party, which bases its support in Ukraine's Russian-speaking east. (AP video)

Ukrainian lawmakers have rejected a call by the the speaker of parliament to dissolve the legislature and hold early elections following an outbreak of violence between parliament members in the chamber.

Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn said on May 25 that the previous day's fisticuffs inside the parliament showed that “parliamentarism in Ukraine is in deep crisis.”

The call, however, failed to win wide support.

Parliamentary elections are due in October.

The fistfight erupted over a bill, backed by the ruling Party of Regions, that would make Russian the second official language, after Ukrainian, in Ukraine's majority Russian-speaking regions.

One lawmaker was hospitalized as a result of the fight.

PHOTO GALLERY: Scenes of the violence that broke out among lawmakers in the Verkhovna Rada on May 24:

Some 500 protesters were reported to have joined a demonstration outside parliament on May 25 to demand the withdrawal of the bill.

More than 1,000 pro-opposition and nationalist activists protested the draft law on May 24.

Based on reporting by UNIAN and Interfax

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