Ukraine set for new government, FinMin Yaresko to lose post

 12 Apr 2016 - 15:41

Ukraine set for new government, FinMin Yaresko to lose post
Members of parliament set up the banner reading '167 billion dollars were stolen because of offshores from Ukraine' during a session of the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, 12 April 2016.  EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY


KIEV: Ukraine's parliament prepared to vote on Tuesday on a new government likely to give President Petro Poroshenko more influence and see reformists such as

Finance Minister Natatalia Yaresko leave office, lawmakers said.

Legislators are in the final stages of agreeing a new coalition following the resignation of Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk on Sunday and hope it can end a political deadlock that has stalled billions of dollars in foreign loans.

They said the new cabinet would not include Yaresko and other foreign-born technocrats brought in late in 2014 in the hope that their outsider status and international experience would help Ukraine make good on its reform promises.

The finance minister post is especially sensitive given cash-strapped Ukraine's strategic dealings with the International Monetary Fund and other Western backers.

"Now Yaresko's not mentioned anywhere. She's not in the picture," lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko told Reuters. Fellow deputy Leonid Kozachenko echoed this view.

Kozachenko, Leshchenko and lawmaker Mustafa Nayyem all said former investment manager Oleksandr Danylyuk has been chosen to take over from Yaresko if the nomination of presidential ally Volodymyr Groysman for prime minister is approved.

Danylyuk, 40, is the deputy head of President Petro Poroshenko's administration. His nomination could boost concerns among reformists that the reshuffle under Groysman will increase
the influence of the president on policymaking. 


"I think this government will probably have six months to a  year in power, however I definitely don't believe in the reformist abilities of these people." Leshchenko told reporters.

Poroshenko and Groysman have publicly supported the IMF reform programme and vowed to root out corruption. But the slow pace of reform of the prosecutor's office has prompted some to question Poroshenko's will to change the status quo.

Yaresko's colleagues in the finance ministry have declined to comment on whether she would stay in a Groysman-led cabinet.

The departure of the U.S.-born technocrat could be a disappointment for some of Ukraine's Western allies, who have praised her handling of the country's finances amid economic meltdown and a separatist conflict.

Nevertheless, the formation of stable government could pave the way for the disbursement of a third tranche of IMF loans worth $1.7 billion, which has been delayed since October due to
the political deadlock.

Vice-speaker of parliament Andriy Parubiy said four independent deputies had joined Poroshenko's BPP faction, which means BPP and the People's Front party have enough members to
form a coalition with a slender majority.

Lawmakers said parliament would most likely vote on the coalition and the appointment of the new government under Groysman later on Tuesday.

"If we do not do this, I fear that the whole arrangement could fall apart by Thursday and that's a quick road to snap elections," said People's Front MP Viktoria Syumar.

Snap parliamentary elections would further delay stalled reforms under the $17.5 billion IMF programme and potentially hand more power to populist parties who oppose IMF-backed austerity measures.