New Ukrainian PM promises corruption crackdown

15 Apr 16

Ukraine’s new prime minister has vowed to crack down on corruption in the country after his predecessor’s ineffectual attempts forced his resignation.


Ukraine's new prime minister Volodymyr Groysman. Credit: Senat Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej

Ukraine's new prime minister Volodymyr Groysman. Credit: Senat Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej


Parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Groysman was sworn in as prime minister yesterday, replacing Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who resigned on Sunday after months of pressure to step down over stalling corruption reforms.

Groysman, a member of president Petro Poroshenko’s own party and a key ally, has vowed intolerance of corruption, and it his hoped his premiership could end the political infighting that has shackled any attempts to push through anti-corruption reforms.

In his acceptance speech, Groysman said Ukraine faces three major challenges: corruption; ineffective governance; and populism, which he described as “no less a threat than the enemy in the east” – a reference to pro-Russian separatists.

“I will show you what leading a country really means,” Groysman declared, promising a new kind of government, responsible for its actions and achievements.

But critics argue that as an ally of Poroshenko, Groysman represents the old, established order and is not the reformer he claims to be.

He, along with the president, will take on the pressures to continue Ukraine’s EU-backed reform programme, with their efforts likely to be watched closely by observers within and outside of Ukraine.

The International Monetary Fund is withholding the next tranche of its $17.5bn bailout programme until more progress is made on the so-far sluggish reforms.

At one point, the continuation of the programme altogether looked under threat as key figures in the Ukrainian government resigned, accusing the cabinet of corruption.

President Poroshenko suffered another blow recently when he was linked to a secret offshore fund in the Panama Papers.

Announcing his resignation, Yatsenyuk also alleged the president had plunged the country into an “artificially” created political crisis, driven by desire to get him out of office rather than for real change.

Poroshenko had asked Yatsenyuk to quit in February, but the embattled former PM survived two botched no confidence votes before finally tendering his resignation last week. By this point, two parties had left the governing coalition in protest, depriving the coalition of a majority, and his approval ratings had dropped to 1%.

Yatsenyuk rose to power as opposition leader during the 2014 protests that drove pro-Russia president Viktor Yanukovych from office, but he has increasingly become the focus of corruption accusations himself. 

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