Ukrainian Prime Minister Announces Resignation
Published: July 25, 2014 (Issue # 1821)
KIEV — Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced his resignation Thursday, opening the way for new elections that would reflect the country's starkly changed political scene after the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February.
Yatsenyuk, a supporter of closer ties with Europe and a key participant in the protests that toppled Yanukovych, made the announcement from the dais of Parliament after two parties said they would pull out of the governing coalition. He said Parliament could no longer do its work and pass necessary laws.
President Petro Poroshenko, elected to replace Yanukovych May 25, earlier praised the withdrawal of the two parties. He said that "all opinion polls, and direct conversations with people, show that society wants a complete rebooting of the government."
Poroshenko's calls for political renewal suggests the resignation and new elections are the result of planning and political maneuvering, not chaos.
Yatsenyuk took over as prime minister just short of five months ago supported by a coalition of pro-European parties. They took power after Yanukovych was driven from office by months of street protests on Kiev's Independence Square, or Maidan.
The protests began over Yanukovych's refusal to sign a sweeping trade deal with the European Union, but swelled to include wider grievances such as the government's attempts to suppress the protests with riot police, corruption, and lack of progress in modernizing the economy.
"I think this is a fully expected and planned development," said Balazs Jarabik, visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "The president and the government coalition looked for ways to clear the legal way for an early election, as they are under a lot of pressure from Maidan and the public."
The president can dismiss Parliament for new elections if no new government is formed in 30 days.
The current Parliament was originally dominated by Yanukovych supporters in the pro-Russian Party of Regions. That group has shrunk through defections and its members face an uncertain fate in new elections.
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