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Ruling coalition in Ukraine’s parliament breaks up as Samopomich faction exits

February 18, 16:36 UTC+3
After Yatseyuk’s government survived a no-confidence vote on February 16, Batkivshchyna left the coalition along with several deputies from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc
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© Maxim Nikitin/TASS

KIEV, February 18. /TASS/. The Samopomich faction in the Verkhovna Rada has decided to exit the ruling parliamentary coalition, the faction’s head Oleg Berezyuk told a press conference in Kiev on Thursday.

The ruling coalition formed one year ago with the Petro Poroshenko Bloc has thus broken up losing the majority vote, Berezeyuk said. All faction members will step down from the parliament, he added noting that the decision was made after the latest developments when Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseyuk’s government survived a no-confidence vote on February 16.

"The Ukrainian people have become eyewitnesses to an overt collision between the leadership of the country, on one hand, and oligarchs and forces in the parliament controlled by them, on the other hand," Berezeyuk said. "An attempt to completely cement the power of kleptocrats and oligarchs in Ukraine has been made. The union has becom obvious that includes part of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc’s faction, People’s Front and remnants of the Party of Regions, controlled by several oligarchs. Such actions de-legitimize the Ukrainian government, represent an attempt at the country’s political system and completely destroy the parliamentary ‘European Ukraine Coalition’," he added.

The ruling coalition in the Verkhovna Rada of the eighth convocation elected on 26 October 2014 was formed from five parties - Petro Poroshenko Bloc, Samopomich, Batkivshchyna, Radical Party and People’s Front. On 1 September 2015 the head of the Radical Party Oleg Lyashko announced the party’s exit from the coalition.

After Yatseyuk’s government survived a no-confidence vote on February 16, Batkivshchyna left the coalition along with several deputies from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc.

After Samopomich’s exit, the coalition loses the majority vote in the parliament - 226 votes. According to existing regulations, the parliament has a month to form a new coalition with the majority vote. If this does not happen, the Verkhovna Rada will be dissolved, and snap elections will be announced.

Yatsenyuk being stubborn

Ukrainian Prime Minister Aresniy Yatsenyuk made it clear that he will not step down after the break-up of the ruling coalition that was responsible for forming his cabinet back in 2015.

Commenting on Samopomich’s decision, he called for "forgetting about political blackmailing and changing the rules of Ukrainian policy." "I can only sympathize with them but they should be able to bear political responsibility," he said adding that "we will not allow to throw the country into the pool of instability and chaos."

"My hand is stretched to the president and his faction. Not only my hand but also of the whole People’s Front faction which, together with the presidential coalition, represents the basis of the coalition and changes in the country… It should become European," he added.

"I will hold consultations today with the Radical Party, will speak with the president and his faction’s leader once again," Yatsenyuk noted.

"Reset" possible

Representatives of the Pyotr Poroshenko Bloc also hope that they will be able to reach agreement with other political forces in the Rada and return Oleg Lyashko’s Radical Party.

"If we are offered a concrete plan and executors of this plan, I do not rule out that Radical Party may join the majority," Pyotr Poroshenko Bloc’s faction leader Yury Lutsenko said.

Representatives of the Radical Party are also talking about the new format of the coalition. "For now, they agree to almost all our conditions. First of all, to our program principles which we repeatedly stated," deputies said.

Lyashko said earlier today in the Rada that the Radical Party is ready to take part in forming the new coalition. "If those who have power today are not able to reach an agreement, not able to build the country, we propose a plan of actions. We are ready to participate in forming a new coalition, in the new program of actions, in forming a new government," he added.

Cabinet will have to be changed

Even if the three factions will manage to agree on forming a coalition again, the government will most likely have to be replaced.

Lutsenko said earlier today that the Pyotr Poroshenko Bloc will not cooperate with Yatsenyuk’s government.

He said that Yatsenyuk should "reformat his government and present a concrete plan of actions or resign voluntarily." "If this does not happen, the Rada may subject the prime minister to the no-confidence vote. Not the government but the prime minister," he noted. "The ball is in Yatsenyuk’s court," Lutsenko said.

However, several ministers should continue working, he added. "We respect around eight ministers and think that they should stay in any case… We are satisfied with the work of technocratic ministers, for instance ministers of finances, infrastructure, agriculture, social policy, energy," he concluded.

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