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Ukrainian parliament plans to form new government

February 27, 2014, 4:04 UTC+3 KIEV
Arseny Yatsenyuk, the leader of the Batkivshchina faction, expressed confidence that the voting on the new government would take place on Thursday morning
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© EPA/YURI MAXIMOV

KIEV, February 27, /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, or national parliament, on Thursday plans to form a parliamentary coalition that will appoint the country’s new government. The coalition will be formed from the Batkivshchina (Fatherland), Svoboda (Freedom) and UDAR factions. It will also incorporate lawmakers nonaffiliated with any faction, who will form their lawmaker groups enjoying the rights of factions or will join any of the existing factions. The Party of Regions has already declared it would go into opposition.

On February 21, the Verkhovna Rada passed a law on returning to the 2004 constitution, which fixed the parliamentary-presidential form of government in Ukraine, where president’s competences were considerably reduced. The parliamentary coalition thus obtained the right to form the government. The Verkhovna Rada’s term has been extended from four to five years. Under the 2004 constitution, prime minister is elected by the parliament from among candidates nominated by the president. The parliament also appoints ministers of defence and of foreign affairs and head of the Security Service upon the recommendation of the president. Candidatures of other government members are nominated by the prime minister.

Arseny Yatsenyuk, the leader of the Batkivshchina faction, expressed confidence that the voting on the new government would take place on Thursday morning. His candidature for the post of prime minister scored support of participants in the so-called “popular veche” (or people’s assembly) on Kiev’s central Independence Square and agreed with the Rada factions on Wednesday.

Candidates for deputy prime ministers include Boris Tarasyuk, Olga Bogomolets, Vladimir Groisman and Alexander Sych. Pavel Petrenko was nominated as Minister of Justice, Alexei Shlapak - as Minister of Finance, Pavel Sheremet - as Minister of Economics, Sergei Kvita as Minister of education, Oleg Musy - as Minister of Health, Lyudmila Denisova - as Minister Social Policy, Andrei Mokhnik - as Minister of Ecology, Andrei Deshchitsa - as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Mirny as Minister of Agrarian Policy, Yuri Prodan - as Minister of Energy, Dmitry Bulatov - as Minister of the Youth and Sport, Arsen Avakov - as Minister of Interior Affairs, and Leonid Kostyuchenko - as Minister of Infrastructure. It is planned to appoint Andrei Paruby, a lawmaker with the Batkivshchina party, secretary of the Ukrainian Security Council. Viktoria Syumar, the executive director of the Institute of Mass Media, and Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the Right Sector, are expected to be appointed his deputies. The candidature of the latter however is still subject of consultations.

The lawmakers also plan to set up a number of new structures - the Anti-corruption Bureau, which will be headed by journalist Tatiana Chornovol, and the Lustration Committee, which is to be headed by journalist Yegor Sobolev.

Yatsenyuk said that people who would be appointed to the new government would have to stay away from big politics for years. “This government will have to face awful challenges, so let us be frank and say that those who are going to be its members are saving the country on the one hand, but on the other hand, they must understand that they are committing a political suicide. These people will have to quit politics for a rather long period of time,” he said.

The new government and Ukraine’s National Bank plan to make public their anti-crisis programme already on Thursday, or Friday. The political situation in the country could not but impact the country’s banking system. People rushed to banks to withdraw their money. Despite strict restrictions of the National Bank, the currency market is in turmoil, the U.S. dollar exchange rate has jumped up to 10.50 hryvnias per one U.S. dollar. The National Bank’s chairman Stepan Kubiv plans to organize large-scale consultations with bankers on the “emergency plan.” According to Yatsenyuk, Ukraine needs about 35 billion U.S. dollars to fill the gap in the country’s 2014 budget.

The European Union and the United States have promised to spare Ukraine from default and offer it financial aid in case Arseny Yatsenyuk is appointed Prime Minister. Vitali Klitschko, the leader of the UDAR party, is seen by them as President.

As a matter of fact, it will be a provisional government tasked to save the country from default. Its office term will expire after the presidential polls due to be held on May 25 and runoff elections, if necessary - on June 15. In other words, its life span will not exceed 3.5 months. After Ukraine elects a new president, the government may be radically changed.

Experts say that “from the point of view of political expediency, the formation of a new government is a big mistake.” “Such government is unlikely to live long, so we will see government reshuffles in a couple of months,” politician Taras Steskiv said. “A technocratic government is the most proper one for a period of crisis.

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