Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko today asked Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to stand down in the face of the government’s perceived failure to fight endemic corruption and overcome its deep economic crisis.
Poroshenko’s dramatic intervention came as opinion polls showed growing public disenchantment with the pro-Western team that took over the leadership of the former Soviet nation after the 2014 revolt.
Parliament was already considering today holding a vote of no confidence in the government after first listening to Yatsenyuk account for his 2015 performance and plans for this year.
A stony-faced Yatsenyuk arrived in parliament just moments after the president’s statement was released.
He did not directly address Poroshenko’s request during his prepared remarks but could be forced to tackle the issue during a parliamentary question and answer session.
“We will accept any decision of this parliament,” Yatsenyuk said.
“But regardless what is decided, I ask parliament, the president and the responsible political classes to move further along the path of reforms.”
Poroshenko himself said the current cabinet had lost the public’s trust and support.
“It is not clear that successful reforms can only be conducted by a government that enjoys sufficiently high public support?” Poroshenko said in a statement.
“In order to restore trust, therapy is no longer enough— you need surgery.”
Poroshenko said all four parties that comprise parliament’s current pro-Western coalition should take part “in a complete cabinet reshuffle”.
Any Yatsenyuk resignation must still be approved by parliament—a step that is likely considering the level of lawmakers’ dissatisfaction with the current cabinet.
But the government’s collapse could jeopardise the delivery of a massive IMF-led rescue package aimed at reviving Ukraine’s shattered economy and putting it on a course toward sustainable growth.
Yatsenyuk was a passionate foe of Russia who endeared himself to the West by promoting belt-tightening measures that were promised but ignored by a succession of preceding leaders.
But the 41-year-old former banker’s vows to clean up the government by cutting its ties to tycoons soon fell flat with voters who accused him of backing the interests of the very billionaires he had vowed to sideline. (AFP)