Ukraine no closer to democracy, EU says

Dec. 13, 2012 at 11:11 AM

BRUSSELS, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- European Parliament members said Thursday that Ukrainian officials need to show commitment to democracy before both sides move closer.

October elections in Ukraine left the ruling Party of Regions in power, though the opposition Fatherland party of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was a close second.

European observers expressed concern about the "abuse of power and the excessive role of money in this election."

The European Parliament in a Thursday resolution said Ukraine failed to pass "a key test" during its October elections.

Formal association talks were suspended following the sentencing of Tymoshenko on an abuse of power conviction last year.

European lawmakers said they were committed to formalizing ties with Ukraine "but only if the country demonstrates tangible progress towards democratic principles, rule of law, independence of the judiciary and media freedom."

Brawls broke out Thursday in Kiev as lawmakers voted on the make-up of the new government. Lawmakers agreed to reappoint Mykola Azarov as prime minister. The National News Agency of Ukraine reports he becomes the only prime minister in the country's history with 998 days of continuous control over the Parliament.

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