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Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk ready to step down but demands key posts for his party — media

In particular, the People’s Front wants to have its speaker in the Verkhovna Rada with Arsen Avakov and Pavlo Petrenko retaining posts of interior and justice ministers, respectively

KIEV, March 21. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has agreed to step down on condition that his party, People’s Front, retains to ministerial posts, with Arsen Avakov and Pavlo Petrenko continuing as interior and justice ministers, respectively, Ukraine’s news outlet Apostrof said on Monday citing well-informed sources.

Apart from that, according to Apostrof, the People’s Front wants to have its speaker in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament). So far, the candidate for the latter position has not yet been named as this issue is being discussed. Possible candidates are Andrei Parubiy, the current first deputy speaker, and Maxim Burbak, the leader of the People’s Front faction.

According to the source, Yatsenyuk plans to announce his resignation at a government meeting on Wednesday. On the same day, the prop-presidential force, the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, plans to hold a congress which is expected to support the candidature of Verkhovna Rada speaker Vladimir Groisman as Ukraine’s next prime minister. Parliament voting on that matter is planned for March 24.

Leader of the pro-presidential Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction in Ukraine’s parliament Yuri Lutsenko said on Sunday he hopes the parliament will hold an extraordinary session on March 24 to send the Arseniy Yatsenyuk government to resignation. "I hope next week, probably on Thursday (March 24), we will be able to hold an extraordinary session to vote for a new prime minister, a new government and a new program of actions and finally put an end to the profound crisis stemming from the inaction of the current government," he wrote on his Facebook account.

He ruled out a third office term for the current prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. "After the latest consultation I rule out the possibility of Yatsenyuk’s continuing as prime minister for a third year. I think both he and the People’s Front faction have realized that the government is actually dysfunctional. And the latest consultations focused only on the format of the next government," Lutsenko noted.

Earlier, the chief of the presidential staff Boris Lozhkin said that Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko and Verkhovna Rada (parliament) speaker Vladimir Groisman are the key candidates for Ukraine’s prime minister. "Active talks are underway on the formation of a new coalition or keeping the old one in the Rada. The question is not in whether Yatsenyuk is going to step down, the question is whether we will have a new coalition and whom it will back. The key candidates now are Jaresko and Groisman. The choice will depend on who will be supported by three parliamentary factions," Lozhkin told Eadio Vesti.

Jaresko however said she was not planning to leave her post to take the premier’s office. "I don’t have premiership ambitions. My goal is to help the Ukrainian people as the finance minister, in my case. Let things happen as they will," she told journalists on Sunday.

The ruling coalition in the Ukrainian parliament initially comprised five parties, namely the pro-presidential Petro Poroshenko Bloc, Samopomoshch, Batkivshchina, the Radical Party and the prime minister’s Popular Front. The Radical Party quitted the coalition in the autumn of 2015. Following the Verkhovna Rada’s failure to send the Yatsenyuk government to resignation on February 16, another faction, Batkivshchina, and a number of lawmakers with the pro-presidential Petro Poroshenko Bloc and Samopomoshch also withdrew from the coalition stripping it of the majority of 226 votes needed to pass decisions.