KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The Ukrainian parliament, better known for its frequent fistfights, on Friday replaced its rowdy deputies with children — but only for one day.
Heated debates at the Verkhovna Rada in Kiev have in the past spilled over into scuffles. One deputy a week ago lifted Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk from the rostrum and dragged him out, sparking a fistfight involving a few dozen members of parliament.
The Rada on Friday hosted 280 children from all over Ukraine, some of whom had lost their parents in sniper fire on Kiev's main square in 2014 or in fighting in eastern Ukraine.
Rada speaker Volodymyr Groisman, accompanied by Santa Claus, showed the children how to press the "yes" button, saying he would be "very happy" if the deputies were as orderly as the children.
The children, however, did not show quite the unity that Groisman may have hoped. While everyone voted for the mock Bill of Dreams, only 250 out of the 280 voted for an imaginary bill on Ukraine's European future.