Ukraine ruling party in crisis mode

web_photo_Viktor_Yanukovych_161213

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has offered a number of concessions, sacking senior officials over police violence and announcing an amnesty for arrested protesters, in a bid to defuse the tension.

KIEV - Ukraine&39;s ruling party on Monday demanded a sweeping cabinet reshuffle, as political leaders seek to defuse the country&39;s biggest political crisis in a decade.

President Viktor Yanukovych&39;s decision to scrap key agreements with the EU last month and then use police force against protesters sparked the largest demonstrations in the ex-Soviet country since the 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution.

Yanukovych has offered a number of concessions, sacking senior officials over police violence and announcing an amnesty for arrested protesters, in a bid to defuse the tension.

But the pro-EU opposition has dismissed these moves as half-measures. It is demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, and early presidential and parliamentary elections.

"We have put forward a demand before Azarov to reformat the government by 90 percent," Anna German, a lawmaker with Yanukovych&39;s Regions Party, told reporters after talks with Azarov.

"Azarov said that he will today let the position of the faction be known to the president and conclusions will certainly be made," she told reporters after the closed-door meeting attended by the entire cabinet.

German, a former Yanukovych aide, said the resignation of Azarov was not discussed.