How will Ukraine's government respond to PM's resignation?

Ukraine's government may face increased pressure to address longstanding charges of corruption following Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's announcement that he will submit his resignation Tuesday.

Sergei Chuzavkov/AP/File
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks during an annual report in Parliament in Kiev, Ukraine in February.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced his resignation Sunday, only two months after surviving a vote of no confidence leveled against him.

“I have taken the decision to resign as prime minister of Ukraine. On Tuesday, April 12, my request will be submitted to the parliament,” he said during a televised statement, according to Reuters.

“The political crisis in the country was created artificially. The desire to change one person blinded politicians and paralyzed their political will for real change,” he added.

Yatsenyuk’s resignation comes following months of political uncertainty in the eastern European nation, including revelations of secret business dealings by its president, Petro Poroshenko, via the so-called Panama Papers. Ukraine’s politics also suffered a blow this week after voters in the Netherlands rejected a treaty that would strengthen Dutch ties with Ukraine.

Following the 2014 revolution that removed former president Viktor Yanukovych from power, Mr. Yatsenyuk took over in the new government that formed in Kiev. A short time after that, he tendered his first resignation, but it was not accepted by Ukrainian lawmakers at the time. Now, Yatsenyuk is leaving office after surviving the no confidence motion by only 32 votes.

Despite Yatsenyuk’s initial promises to reform Ukraine’s economy and politics, his actions have fallen short for its citizens. A recent Gallup survey shows they are outspoken regarding their government’s perceived inability to function and fight corruption.

Yatsenyuk’s imminent departure from the national stage will leave the door open for further reforms in Kiev, where a new government’s formation could signal change in Ukrainian politics. Mr. Poroshenko’s Petro Poroshenko Bloc party and Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front may announce a resetting of their coalition as soon as next week, avoiding a parliamentary election that could have brought populist parties to the forefront. The Associated Press reported that the Poroshenko-People's Front coalition had garnered the support of enough of Ukraine’s parliament to regain the majority there.

Yatsenyuk also announced in his public address that he expects parliamentary chairman Volodymyr Groysman to replace him as prime minister, pending an approval vote from the governing body.

“The parliamentary faction of the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko has nominated Volodymyr Groysman to the post of prime minister. Having done everything to ensure stability and continuity of our course, I declare my decision to transfer the obligations and responsibilities of the head of government of Ukraine,” Yatsenyuk said.

Mr. Groysman’s ascent could herald progress on a $17.5-billion International Monetary Fund aid program, which has been delayed by the financial institution due to political conflict and corruption. Groysman’s ascendancy to prime minister could also signal movement on a $1.7-billion IMF tranche of loans that has been delayed since October.

Groysman’s association with the Poroshenko party could give the president new authority, despite leaked news about his involvement with the potential offshore tax haven. But reform will be at the forefront of the new government’s platform, as it aims to secure the IMF funding and restore public confidence after years of mistrust.

Several reform figures resigned in the weeks prior to the prime minister’s announcement, claiming that Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko were involved in the corruption that had set the government back.

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