“After Kolomoiskiy’s “resignation” there is a theoretical possibility to push through Yatsenyuk’s one. He steals big time, and is generally not a good person”
While Ukrainian coal miners threaten to march on Kiev demanding months of unpaid wages, a serious contest is going on for the seat of the scandalous head of the country’s government.
As reported by Vzglyad, he may be replaced by people from Poroshenko’s team, eagerly trying to keep their hold on power, but also by former President Yanukovych’s associates. Given the distrust to the current prime minister and the crisis in the country, the possibility for his departure doesn’t seem to far-fetched.
The reforms Yatsenyuk announced didn’t bring an economic miracle, so people doubt his abilities. The degree of dissatisfaction with the prime minister is growing, as well as the confrontation between supporters of Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko. And rumors of imminent changes to the Cabinet suggest that Arseny Petrovich (Yatseniuk) may be politely asked to leave.
Ukrainian media have already raised suspicions that a the former president’s head of administration, the famous oligarch Sergei Liovochkin may replace “Yats”. According to “Ukrainian Pravda“, Liovochkin does not skimp on the presentation of its political influence throughout the western press. Liovochkin’s lobbyists actively write letters to the American media to publish an article by Yanukovych’s former ally under the title “A Bad Peace or a Good War?” as Journalists have learned from American sources.
In Ukraine, Liovochkin is really talked about as a possible Yatsenyuk replacement, says the expert on economic programs of the Public Movement “Ukrainian Choice” Alexander Koltunovich. “Today, in Kiev there are active discussions about him, now Deputy Chairman of the political party “Opposition bloc ” in the Verkhovna Rada. The votes of Poroshenko’s Bloc (150 deputies), the Opposition bloc (40), some small factions and independents may be enough to form a new majority and appoint a new technocratic government.”
Liovochkin, as a talented manager and economist, is able to overcome the deep economic crisis, provide an institutional basis for development of the country, the expert believes. “Actually, we have already seen that in the previous years of his stay in power. As for the other candidates, it is obvious that their appointment would change nothing radically,” he states.
It is interesting that Liovochkin’s desire to get the premiership was discussed by another well-known oligarch – Igor Kolomoisky. As early as 2014, he gave an interview to “Channel 5”, in which he talked about the personal qualities of the former head of the presidential administration and his ambitions he knew firsthand. “Liovochkin is not a mercenary. He is not corrupt. Liovochkin always wanted to be prime minister. He never told me that, but I felt it. Those who tried to lay claim to the premiership, for example Khoroshkovsky or Tigipko, he was way better than them”- he said.
Another promising figure is the Rada Speaker Volodymyr Groisman, who has recently been giving a lot of interviews and press comments. The journalists asked him whether he is ready to replace Yatsenyuk. “Yatsenyuk made a lot of mistakes. When a Prime Minister absorbs quite a lot of negativity, a moment comes that he needs to be replaced.
It is believed that after the election Poroshenko wanted to appoint Groisman as a PM. But Western partners have focused on Yatsenyuk, and this earned him the post. However, over time the situation has changed on all fronts.
Recently the Vice-Speaker of Parliament Andrew Paruby uttered to reporters that in the future the government can be changed and that he did not rule out the possibility that the decision to change the Cabinet “will be a full package one.” However, he declined to name any names of possible lay-offs.
We should remember that according to the laws of Ukraine the Prime Minister is hired and fired by a decision of the Verkhovna Rada. The nomination for the post shall be approved by the Parliament after it is presented by the President of the country. The nomination, in turn, is introduced to the MPs at the suggestion of a coalition of factions in the Verkhovna Rada. That is, the Prime Minister can only become a candidate having a strong support among MPs.
The Prime Minister, as well as any other member of the Cabinet may resign voluntarily. By the way, Yatsenyuk already threatened the Rada several times that he would leave, earning himself a reputation as a blackmailer and populist. The Verkhovna Rada also can remove the Prime Minister with a vote of no-confidence. The President may also invite the Parliament to vote the Prime Minister out of office, which has already taken place in the history of the country and would not be a precedent.
The question of who could lead the government instead of Yatsenyuk, was tackled by the International Centre for Policy Studies Inside Ukraine. Experts conducted a study, which resulted in a policy brief.
“The unabashedly militaristic rhetoric of Yatsenyuk is annoying most of not only the political establishment, but also the population. One of the central TV channels is running an awareness campaign about the inability of the current government to carry out reforms. On March 15, Congress Radical Party, where it was decided that if the coalition agreement is not complied with, the party will abandon the coalition. Such statements are also made by the leader of the “Fatherland” party Yulia Tymoshenko, who, in the public sphere, constantly criticizes the government for its lack of decentralization reforms “, the researchers concluded. It is amusing that Yatsenyuk rose through the ranks of Timoshenko’s party to get the top executive job in the country.
In the event of the current coal’tion’s collapse Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko is another feasible PM candidate, experts say. She may be acceptable to both the West (US) and President Poroshenko, who does not like the fact that he doesn’t control all the levers of power, including law enforcement agencies and financial channels.
Experts find another argument in favor of Yaresko in the Western press, including the authoritative edition of Bloomberg, where one of the articles presented her as a promising Ukrainian politician for the Western world.
The president also has the option to form a “technocratic government” without any politicians. Such an apolitical government will be best suited for the times of crisis and war,” experts say.
The President against the Prime Minister
“The resignation of Yatseniuk would benefit mainly President Peter Poroshenko,” says Vasiliy Stoyakin, a political scientist, head of the Ukrainian Center for Political Marketing. In his opinion, this is the right time, when Poroshenko, at first sight, has managed to “eliminate the political threat posed by Igor Kolomoisky,” who supported Yatsenyuk in certain situations.
Note that one of the initiators of the “Ukrnafta” scandal, the “Block Poroshenko” MP Sergei Leshchenko in January this year accused the Prime Minister of colluding with Kolomoisky – they allegedly embezzled the income of Ukrainian oil industry. According to Leshchenko, during the voting in the Verkhovna Rada on January 12 Yatsenyuk’s “Popular Front” party almost unanimously tried to thwart a law that would make it possible to transfer “Ukrnafta” under full state control.
Now, after weakening Kolomoiskiy and Rada’s adoption of amendments to the Law on Joint Stock Companies, Poroshenko’s position has strengthened, and, according to Stoyakin, “it is possible to weaken the political “party of war”, which opposed the president.”
“There is evidence of an American operation aimed at consolidating power,” the expert said.
Stoyakin reminded that current demonstrations for the resignation of Yatseniuk are by far not the first ones. “But now the situation is different. Following the resignation of Kolomoiskiy there is some kind of a theoretical possibility that the resignation may be pushed through. Will there be enough votes in parliament? Maybe there will be. Arseny Petrovich has sinned quite a lot. Justification can always be found,” the analyst said.
Stoyakin noted that already there were publications claiming Yatsenyuk steals big time, and is generally not a good person. “So the conflict continues to grow.”