The Crimean parliament on Thursday voted in favor of holding a referendum on whether to expand its autonomy and passed a no-confidence motion dismissing the region’s government. The referendum — set for May 25, the same day as Ukraine’s presidential election — was supported by 61 out of the 64 deputies who attended Thursday’s emergency session, the parliament’s press office told RIA Novosti. Crimeans will vote “yes” or “no” on whether the “Crimea has state sovereignty and is a part of Ukraine, in accordance with treaties and agreements.”
Fifty-four deputies supported the decision to remove the region’s Cabinet and its prime minister Anatoly Mogilyov. The parliament said that the Cabinet’s work in 2013 had been unsatisfactory, Interfax reported. News reports said that Mogilyov has been replaced by Sergei Aksyonov, head of the Russian Unity party.
Crimea, a region of Ukraine with semi-autonomous status, has become a hotbed of tension between pro-Russian residents and those who support the newly appointed government in Kiev that took power after the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych.