MOSCOW — Ukrainian Communist Party chief Vladimir Ivashko was elected president of the Soviet Union's second largest republic Monday after more than 100 radical deputies walked out of Parliament in protest.
The independent Rukh news agency reported that Ivashko won the Ukraine's top government office by polling 278 votes to 52 against in the 450-seat Parliament.
But 110 members of the pro-independence radical bloc, protesting against Ivashko's holding the top party and government posts, walked out of the hall and refused to vote, Rukh said.
"We do not recognize the results of this election because we did not take part in them," an opposition statement said.
Ivashko, born in 1932, became party chief last September to the distress of reformers who felt that he was cast in the mold of his Brezhnev-era predecessor, Vladimir Shcherbitsky.
Outside the hall, about 10,000 demonstrators carried placards denouncing Ivashko and waved the Ukrainian national flag.
The Ukrainian Parliament is deeply split between secession-minded radicals, primarily from the western region of the republic, and hard-liners.
Meanwhile, President Boris N. Yeltsin of the Russian Federation failed Monday for a third time to win parliamentary approval of two of his four Cabinet candidates, raising questions about his mandate to lead the Soviet Union's largest republic toward radical change.
Yeltsin won the presidency of the Russian Congress of People's Deputies last week by a margin of only four votes.