Published December 13, 2012
KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine's newly elected parliament has chosen a pro-government speaker amid violent brawls between supporters of the president and opposition lawmakers.
The Party of Regions led by President Viktor Yanukovych secured a slim majority in the Verkhovna Rada Thursday following an October election condemned as unfair by the West. But three opposition parties made a strong showing and vowed to challenge Yanukovych's grip on power.
Some took that literally. For the second day of the new parliament's work, fists flew.
Opposition lawmakers swarmed the parliament's presidium and a fight erupted with pro-government legislators. Lawmakers wrestled with each other and some deputies were knocked over in the melee.
After a break, Yanukovych ally Volodymyr Rybak was elected as speaker.