Politicians in the Ukrainian Parliament have elected a new pro-EU Prime Minister after months of political turmoil emanating from the two year old civil war which has split apart the country into the pro-EU western Ukraine and a new Moscow-backed region in the east. Volodymr Groysman who is a former mayor of a Western Ukrainian was elected on Wednesday April 13th days after the previous Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenuk, was forced to resign.
These changes have followed from a period of political uncertainty that infected the country up to the point where the government has not able to pass a budget while the importance of recovering economically in the midst of all the turmoil Ukraine faced over the past 2 years is growing.
“The Pro- Western coalition in power has backed the candidature of Groysman for the post of Prime Minister”, Dmytro Stolarchuk said on his Twitter account following the revelation of the outcome. Mr. Stolarchuk was also a candidate for the position.
Ukraine has been struggling both financially and economically for the past decade and this was only exacerbated by the Russian annexation of Crimea and the spread of, often chaotic, anti-EU and pro-EU demonstrations.
“With Yatsenuk gone, Poroshenko will be the major politician responsible for the success of Ukraine’s reforms” Mikhail Minakov who is an analyst with Carnegie Europe said of the current situation facing Ukraine. Mr. Poroshenko is the current President of the Ukraine.
The major issues facing of Ukraine aside from the pro-Russian sentiment spreading across parts of the country includes a $3 billion debt owed to the IMF and the constant threat of default if it cannot come to an agreement with the international lending organization. The situation is actually similar to that of several EU countries that have been having trouble with their own debt, examples include, Spain, Greece and Ireland, all of whom are part of what is known as the “EU sovereign debt crisis”.
“Yatsenyuk’s resignation will create more risks for Poroshenko’s rule” Mikhail Minakov continued in his statement.
Mr. Poroshenko has been President of the Ukraine since May 2014, and is considered to be pro-European Union. The current rescue deal for the Ukrainian economy has reached $17.5 billion dollars or when translated to Euros it comes out to $15.4 billion.
“The new coalition must ensure that European integration becomes irreversible. It must improve efficiency in the government and stabilize the economic situation”, Mr. Groysman said in his remarks.
The turmoil inside the Ukrainian government has been hampered by the two camps of the former Prime Minister Yatsenuk and the current President, Poroshenko, arguing as to what direction the country should move in as it struggles with the debt crisis and the ongoing Russian threat. The vote in the Ukrainian Parliament was 257-50.
“The new prime minister and the cabinet will help to bring the government out of a month’s long lethargy” Vadim Karasyov who is an analyst based in Kiev said.
Since the conflict began, it is estimated that close to 10,000 people have died, including some of whom were non-citizens, like those who were on the flight MH317 which was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpar and was shot down over the conflict zone killing all 298 passengers and crew on board.
During his acceptance speech, Mr. Groysman said that there were many challenges facing his country including “corruption, poor governance, and populism”, all of which he described as no more of a threat than the enemy in the East”, a reference to the Moscow intervention within the Ukraine, even though Moscow has continuously denied the allegation that its forces were involved in the fighting.
Reaction to the move from the international community has largely been positive. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that Ukraine has “the chance to end the phase of political uncertainty in Kiev.”
In the end, the government of Ukraine must come up with a system where its politicians focus on the crisis issues that are facing the country, and are also able to come up with an agreement with the IMF that is both fair for the people of the Ukraine and the international lending organization.
Links to sources:
- Yahoo, Ukraine Parliament Speaker Link: https://www.yahoo.com/news/ukraine-eyes-thursday-vote-pro-eu-government-092221198.html?nhp=1
- Boston Herald Link: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/international/2016/04/ukrainian_presidents_ally_is_elected_as_new_prime_minister
- Trading Economics Link: http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/external-debt
- Wall Street Journal, Ukraine Link: http://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraines-parliament-speaker-submits-proposal-for-new-government-1460370091
- The BBC Link, Poroshenko Profile: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26822741