President Viktor Yanukovych on Tuesday accepted the resignations of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his government.

Azarov submitted his resignation to the president on Tuesday morning in an effort to resolve the conflict that has pitted the opposition against the government over the past two months, prompting thousands of protesters to take to the streets.

Parliament revoked the package of laws restricting basic rights, such as the right to gather in public and freedom of expression, whose approval on Jan. 16 unleashed a wave of violent protests in Kiev.

The vast majority of lawmakers - 361 of the 412 holding seats in the body - voted to abolish the nine laws, including a law that imposed harsh penalties for unauthorized protests and blocking access to public buildings.

The laws also banned the erection of tent cities in the capital.

Members of Parliament voted to replace the laws with a new package of four laws.

Anti-government demonstrators, who have occupied Kiev's city hall and the Trade Unions House since November, when the protests against Yanukovych began, seized control of the Agrarian Policy Ministry last Friday and the Energy Ministry a day later.

Clashes between demonstrators and riot police broke out last week in downtown Kiev.

The anti-government protests, which had been mostly peaceful until last week, began in Ukraine in November when the government backed away from plans to ink a free-trade deal with the European Union.

Yanukovych later signed a $15 billion aid package with Russia and negotiated a deal to enable Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, to purchase natural gas from its neighbor at a steep discount. EFE