Daily Israel Report

Ukraine: Parliament Speaker Elected Interim President

Newly elected parliament working double-time to stabilize Ukraine, has already enacted several big changes in just 24 hours.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 2/23/2014, 2:06 PM / Last Update: 2/23/2014, 2:32 PM

Oleksander Tuchynov, the new speaker of the Ukrainian parliament and a supporter of Yulia Tymshenko, has been elected interim president Sunday, according to international media outlets. He will hold the position until elections on May 25.

Media outlets at the scene report a bitter mix of happiness, confusion, and loss after yesterday's dramatic political turnover. 

The Guardian notes that documents that escaped yesterday's shredding by Yanukovych government officials are floating through the streets of Kiev; they allegedly include a blacklist of journalists and invoices for the President's household expenses. 

Meanwhile, the Guardian notes that the Parliament has been working double-time to stabilize Ukraine over the past 24 hours. Besides for the presidential appointment, the foreign minister, Leonid Kozhara, and the education minister, Dykmitro Tabachnyk have been relieved of their posts; 64 protestors have been released from jail; the president’s estate at Mezhyhirya has been nationalized; and Ukrainian has been declared the official - and only - state language in Ukraine. 

Several reporters on the scene, including correspondents from BBCCNN, and The Guardian note that there is an air of ambivalence mixed with the happiness among protestors in Independence Square.

Analysts predict that the new change may highlight more differences among the protesting camp now that the Opposition has won. Indeed, as AFP noted last week, the Opposition was never unified to begin with, and included a plethora of leaders with different agendas. 

The Kiev Post reports Sunday that rumors are swirling about the possible whereabouts of Yanukovych, who has not been heard from since Saturday night's impassive speech against the Opposition. While he declared himself that he would stay in Ukraine, there is speculation that he has fled to the Middle East - possibly the United Arab Emirates - or Russia.