KIEV, February 24 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine’s former ruling Party of Regions, which had until recently held an overwhelming majority of seats in parliament, announced Monday that it will take up the role of the opposition.
Faction leader Oleksandr Yefremov said at a meeting of party officials in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, that the erstwhile opposition had enough power to form a majority and government.
“We have decided to become opposition,” he said.
With 130 lawmakers, the Party of Regions faction remains the largest in the 450-seat Ukrainian parliament, despite the departure of 77 members from its ranks in the wake of bloody clashes between protesters and police in which dozens of people were killed last week.
Parliament voted Saturday to impeach President Viktor Yanukovych, who is the subject of an arrest warrant for mass murder in connection with those deaths.
In a bid to dissociate itself from Yanukovych, the Party of Regions has issued a statement condemning his reported attempt to flee the country and blaming him for this month’s civilian deaths.