At its extraordinary meeting on Monday, the Ukrainian Parliament refused to cancel the law granting the Russian language official status in a number of the countrys regions. The opposition earlier submitted four draft resolutions to the Verkhovna Rada on cancelling the results of the vote for the draft law, claiming that the regulations and the Ukrainian Constitution were violated during the consideration of the law. None of the oppositions four draft resolutions received over 50 votes, while the minimum necessary is 226 votes. The Ukrainian opposition is against the law, claiming that it will only aggravate tension between Ukrainian-speaking and Russian-speaking citizens. The oppositionists believe that the government is trying to expand the use of the Russian language as a pre-election tactic – the next parliamentary elections are set for the autumn of 2012.
According to the Ukrainian Constitution, Ukrainian is the only official language in the country. Current President Viktor Yanukovych promised to make Russian the second state language during his pre-election campaign. After his election in 2010 he admitted that he did not have enough supporters in parliament (fewer than 300 out of 450) to amend the main law and allow Russian to be made the countrys second official language. According to different polls, up to half of the Ukrainian population considers Russian to be their native language.