[QODLink]
2010
Ukrainian interior minister sacked
Move seen as blow to prime minister, who is running for president in upcoming vote.
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2010 14:37 GMT
The move to sack Yury Lutsenko came weeks ahead of a presidential runoff vote [AFP] 

Ukraine's parliament has sacked the country's interior minister, in what could be a powerful blow to Yulia Tymoshenko, the prime minister, who is running for president in an upcoming election.   

The move was initiated by the Regions Party of Viktor Yanukovich, who faces Tymoshenko in the February 7th runoff vote.

The opposition party accused Yury Lutsenko of not adhering to court decisions and of failing to act when the printing press producing election ballot papers was attacked. 

The motion, at a special session of the 450-seat parliament, was narrowly passed by 231 votes on Thursday.

'Inglorious career'

Tymoshenko responded by saying Lutsenko would continue to head the ministry as its first deputy minister, Ukrainian news agencies reported.

"Today at a government meeting, Lutsenko will be named the first deputy, the acting head and he will head the interior ministry," she was quoted as saying by local agencies.

Yanukovich aides said the loss of Lutsenko from his role as interior minister would deprive Tymoshenko of chances of rigging the vote and doom her hopes of victory.

"Parliament has brought to a stop the inglorious career of Lutsenko," Mykola Azarov, a top Yanukovich aide, said. 

"In a few days time, the Ukrainian people will bring to a stop the inglorious career of Tymoshenko."

Volodymyr Fesenko, the director of Penta, a Ukrainian think tank, said the decision "means the Regions party has succeeded in weakening its rival in a significant part of the election process."

The opposition in parliament has tried to sack Lutsenko several times, most recently last year after German police said they had detained him at a Frankfurt airport for drunk and disorderly behaviour.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
Remnants of deadly demonstrations to be displayed in a new museum, a year after protests pushed president out of power.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.