Ukraine PM Yatsenyuk Survives No-Confidence Vote In Parliament
February 16, 2016
by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has survived a no-confidence vote in parliament, hours after President Petro Poroshenko called on him to resign 'in order to restore trust in the government.'
A total of 194 lawmakers voted that they had no-confidence in Yatsenyuk's government, shy of the 226 votes required to pass the no-confidence resolution introduced earlier in the day by Yuriy Lutsenko, leader of Poroshenko's own party, the Poroshenko Bloc, in parliament.
The vote came amid what opinion polls show is growing disenchantment among Ukrainians with the pro-Western government that took power following the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, a Kremlin ally, in February 2014.
A presidential statement earlier in the day said Yatsenyuk's government has lost the support of the ruling coalition, which includes the Poroshenko Bloc.
The president's statement, which also called for the resignation of Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin, said Arseniy Yatsenyuk's government had lost the support of the ruling coalition, which includes Poroshenko's own party, the Poroshenko Bloc.
In a televised address, Poroshenko said that in order 'to restore [public] trust, therapy is no longer sufficient -- it takes a surgery.'
'The moment for a partial reshuffle of the cabinet of ministers has been lost,' he said. 'The discussion about it has been so long that the issue itself got lost in it. The demand for a full cabinet reload is obvious now.
Poroshenko's request that Yatsenyuk and Shokin resign came shortly before the prime minister presented his report on the work of the government to parliament.
Many had not expected Yatsenyuk to survive the no-confidence vote. Before the parliamentarians made their surprise decision, it was anticipated that fresh coalition talks and possible early parliamentary elections would be held, something that Poroshenko himself had warned 'would only deepen the political crisis.'
In his address to parliament before the vote, Yatsenyuk avoided saying would resign,but said he would accept whatever decision lawmakers made.
'I call upon you -- regardless of what your decision will be -- we have no right to stall. We have laid the foundations for a new country -- now let's build a new Ukrainian house on top of it, a new European Ukraine that the entire [Ukrainian] people deserves. We will accept any decision this parliament takes," he said.
The parliamentary leader of his party, Maksym Burbak, told parliamentarians that voting against the government 'could trigger early elections and chaos.'
Meanwhile, the Ukrainska Pravda newspaper and the lb.ua news portal cited unidentified sources, including one in the Prosecutor-General's Office, as saying that Shokin had already resigned following Poroshenko's request.
Pro-Western lawmaker Mustafa Nayyem also wrote on Twitter that Shokin had resigned but did not indicate a source for this information, which could not be immediately confirmed.
If the government collapsed, it would have dismayed Ukraine's international backers, who have invested much cash and political capital supporting the government in the standoff with Russia over Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea territory in 2014 and Kyiv's war with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The push to eliminate problems like bribery, kickbacks, and preferential hiring for wealthy insiders has proceeded at a slow pace, resulting in growing frustration both inside Ukraine and among Western officials and lenders.
All of the parties that originally formed Yatsenyuk's coalition support integration with the European Union and moves to steer the country away from economic and political ties with Russia.
Poroshenko had also asked for the resignation of Shokin, a controversial appointment in 2014 who had served in previous administrations.
Shokin was called out by name earlier this month by Lithuanian-born Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius, who announced his resignation and cited a 'sharp escalation in efforts to block systemic and important reforms.'
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, pravda.com.ua, and lb.ua
Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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