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Top 4 Political Stories of the Day

Protesters demanding more power for Ukraine's regions stormed the government building in Luhansk with baseball bats Tuesday, seizing control of a key site in one of the largest cities in Ukraine's troubled east. The move further raises tensions in the east, where pro-Russia militias have seized city halls, police stations and other government buildings in at least 10 cities and towns. Russian President Vladimir Putin said late Tuesday that he hoped they will be released soon. Eastern Ukraine, which has a large Russian-speaking population, was the heartland of support for Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted president who fled to Russia in February. Angela Merkel opened her conservatives' European election campaign with an appeal to Germans to use their vote to keep Europe peaceful and strong, reminding them crisis-hit Ukraine will struggle to hold a free presidential election the same day. During a rally in the northern German city of Bremerhaven, she told the crowd, "You can go and vote with a completely free choice, on how you see the Europe of the next few years." A new opinion poll by INSA put Merkel's conservatives on 36 percent, their coalition partners the Social Democrats on 28 percent, the opposition Greens on 11 percent and the Left party on 9 percent. House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday reassured fellow Republican lawmakers that he will not push them to pass immigration reform and said he was just teasing last week when he criticized his caucus's reluctance on the issue. Boehner held a closed-door meeting with Republican House members to cool their anger over remarks he made last Thursday at a Rotary Club luncheon in his Ohio district. In that widely reported speech, Boehner described the attitude of other House Republicans as: "Don't make me do this." British Prime Minister David Cameron faces a potentially awkward test of voter support following the resignation on Tuesday of lawmaker Patrick Mercer, a former member of his Conservative party. Mercer's resignation, after reports he was to be suspended for six months for breaking lobbying rules, triggers an election that would allow the anti-European Union UK Independence Party to test their growing popularity in a region where the Conservative party is traditionally strong. The vote will not take place until after European Parliament elections next month, in which UKIP is expected to push Cameron's Conservatives into third place behind itself and the opposition Labour party.

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