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Ukraine edges towards new government

BBC News BBC News 12/04/2016
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, (right) and parliament speaker Volodymyr Groysman. 27 November 2014 © AP Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, (right) and parliament speaker Volodymyr Groysman. 27 November 2014

Parliament in Ukraine is set to vote for a new prime minister as support grows for Speaker Volodymyr Groysman, an ally of President Petro Poroshenko.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announces his resignation in Kiev (10 April 2016): Mr Yatsenyuk said on Sunday that he would be presenting his resignation to parliament on Tuesday © Reuters Mr Yatsenyuk said on Sunday that he would be presenting his resignation to parliament on Tuesday

The incumbent, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, announced on Sunday he was quitting, with the government facing accusations of inactivity and corruption.

Ukrainian legislators attend a parliament session in Kiev (29 March 2016): Ukraine could be set for a period of prolonged political uncertainty © Reuters Ukraine could be set for a period of prolonged political uncertainty

Intense talks over cabinet positions are still continuing behind the scenes.

Politicians in Mr Poroshenko's coalition say they now have enough members to back the new cabinet.

Oleksiy Honcharenko, a member of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc (BPP), told Interfax news agency there was a coalition of 226 out of the 450-member parliament.

"The president has said he is ready to immediately submit to the parliament Groysman's nomination for the post of prime minister, and we will immediately vote for it," the MP said on Tuesday.

"This all is going to happen today."

Separately, the deputy speaker of parliament, Andriy Parubiy, told Reuters that four independent MPs had joined Mr Poroshenko's faction, enough to form a majority with Mr Yatseniuk's People's Front party.

Reports had emerged late on Monday that Mr Groysman would not take up the post amid disagreements over the new cabinet.

The BBC's Tom Burridge in Ukraine says that if there is no progress towards the creation of a stable reform-minded government, there will be frustration in Berlin and Washington, and satisfaction in Moscow.

The Western-backed reform programme of the government has stalled in recent weeks and several high-profile reformists have left the government.

Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius resigned more than two months ago after accusing the government of lacking commitment to end corruption.

Long list of problems

Mr Yatsenyuk has been in office since former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted during huge demonstrations in February 2014.

Announcing his resignation on Sunday, Mr Yatsenyuk accused Ukraine's politicians of failing to enact "real changes".

His loss of parliamentary support led to him being asked by President Poroshenko to resign in February. Although he survived a vote of confidence, he remained unpopular in opinion polls.

The International Monetary Fund has threatened to withhold aid money if Ukraine does not carry out reforms.

The government in Kiev is signed up to an uneasy truce with pro-Russian rebels in two of Ukraine's eastern regions, with frequent ceasefire violations reported.

Russia annexed the southern region of Crimea two years ago after a referendum on self-determination - a move condemned by the US and Europe.

Ukraine's ambitions to join the EU also suffered a setback on 6 April when voters in the Netherlands roundly rejected a landmark EU trade deal with the former Soviet state in a referendum.

Although the referendum was not legally binding, the Dutch government has said the deal cannot now be ratified without further discussion.

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