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Ukraine's parliament votes against PM Yatsenyuk's resignation

July 31, 2014, 14:18 UTC+3 KIEV
Only 16 Ukrainian lawmakers supported Arseniy Yatsenyuk's resignation, while 109 voted against
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Arseny Yatsenyuk

Arseny Yatsenyuk

© ITAR-TASS/Maxim Nikitin

KIEV, July 31. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, on Thursday voted against the resignation of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

With the necessary 226 votes needed for Yatsenyuk’s resignation, only 16 lawmakers from the Verkhovna Rada submitted their votes of no confidence, while 109 voted against.

Following the voting at the parliament, Yatsenyuk took the floor saying only “Ukraine has never declared default and never will.”

Yatsenyuk submitted his resignation on July 24 after two parties quit the ruling coalition in the Verkhovna Rada.


Parliamentary coalition breakup

On July 24, the UDAR party announced its secession from the parliamentary coalition to allow the president to dissolve the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) and announce early parliamentary elections.

Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok, independent candidate Sergei Mishchenko and Anatoly Kinakh of the Economic Development group followed suit. The latter said pre-term elections will “help to reset the system of power” in Ukraine.

Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov then officially declared the end of the coalition which had been created after the change of power in February and consisted of 262 deputies from Batkivshchina, UDAR, Svovoda and several deputies’ groups that joined them.

If a new coalition of at least 226 deputies is not formed within a month, the president can dissolve the parliament and announce early elections. They may be set for October 26.

Poroshenko welcomed the deputies’ decision to leave the coalition. “All public opinion polls and direct contacts with people indicate that society wants full reset of power,” he said but warned that “these steps must not paralyze the work of the parliament”.

After a break, the parliament failed to pass two crucial government bills. One amends tax legislation to reduce budget spending by 10 billion hryvnias ($0.9 billion) and raise the mineral production tax to receive an additional 21 billion hryvnias (about $2 billion) in revenue. The other bill proposed a reform plan for the country’s gas transportation system.

Yatsenyuk responded right away by announcing his resignation.

“In connection with the breakup of the parliamentary coalition, as well as non-adoption of a number of important bills, I announce my resignation,” Yatsenyuk said in parliament.

“What happened today in parliament will have very complicated, if not dramatic, consequences for the country,” he said, adding, “It is good if I am mistaken.”

He said Ukraine was living through a critical time. “This is a difficult decision and a difficult time, not for me personally, but for the country as a whole. This is not the best government in the history of the country, but at least it did what it could and as best it could, as our parents taught us and as we saw proper. Am I satisfied with my own work? Certainly not. But did we do everything we could? Yes, we did,” Yatsenyuk said.

He stressed that the breakup of the coalition and the shortage of money in the budget were unacceptable. “That the coalition broke up today and there is no money to pay salaries, fuel armored personnel carriers and keep the army is unacceptable. What can be done in this situation? Option one: the coalition falls apart and the prime minister begins to form a new coalition, that is, with communists and the Party of Regions. I will never do that. Another option is to resign. So I announce my resignation in connection with the breakup of the coalition and the blocking of the government initiatives,” Yatsenyuk said.

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