Verkhovna Rada passes 2014 national budget bill without debates
249 out of 261 MPs registered in the session hall on Thrusday voted for the bill with a show of hands as the electronic vote system was blocked by the opposition.
The budget was drawn up on the basis of expected 3% GDP growth rate and 4.7% inflation. State budget deficit was set at 3.6% of GDP. Meanwhile, around 15,000 supporters of the ruling Party of Regions were rallying near the parliament building to demonstrate for the adoption of the national budget. According to the parliament's press service, the pro-government majority also passed a bill providing for enhanced security of judges and their families as well as employees of courts and law enforcement agencies. The majority also voted for amendments to the Penal Code, which simplify the procedure of prosecution for contempt of court and increase penalties for disruption of traffic, for violations of rules for holding public meetings, and for intervention in the work of judicial and law enforcement agencies. The majority also passed a bill on amendments to the Parliament Regulations simplifying the procedure of stripping MPs of immunity. The opposition slammed the bills as "yet another act of clampdown on democracy" in the country.