KIEV Ukraine's parliament on Thursday approved Mykola Azarov, President Viktor Yanukovich's ally, as prime minister, after the ruling Party of the Regions and its allies mustered a solid majority despite raucous protests from the opposition.
Azarov, 64, who has served as prime minister since Yanukovich became president in February 2010, was voted in for a second term in office by 252 votes from the 450-seat chamber.
The vote on Azarov's nomination was an early test of the support that Yanukovich, who is expected to bid for a second term as president in 2015, commands in the new chamber.
But it culminated a day of rowdy scenes in parliament and protests from a re-invigorated opposition which spoke out against another term for Azarov. It says his government has reneged on promises to raise living standards.
Earlier, deputies wrestled with each other in a mass of bodies around the main rostrum as opposition parties tried physically to block a vote on the Regions' candidate for speaker.
The Regions' majority in support of Azarov was due in part - as with the vote in support of Volodymyr Rybak as speaker - to backing from the Regions' traditional communist allies.
(Writing By Richard Balmforth; Editing by Olzhas Auyezov)