Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s party nominated Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Hroisman to lead a new government that can guide the country out of its worst political crisis in two years and restart the flow of international financial aid.
The proposal to replace Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk follows talks Thursday between Bloc Petro Poroshenko and other parties represented in parliament, where the president’s is the largest, controlling 135 of 450 seats. A majority of lawmakers must approve the appointment, with the legislature set to reconvene Tuesday.
“We should create a professional government, with political support from parliament, that will be responsible, transparent, and effective,” Hroisman, 38, told reporters in the capital, Kiev. “It’s very important to form a quality team. People who join the government must have an impeccable record.”
If confirmed, Hroisman would take charge amid a volatile political environment, with Ukrainians and the nation’s foreign backers losing patience over delays in fighting corruption and modernizing the economy after a street revolution calling for European values. Yatsenyuk’s authority was shaken last month when top reformers left his cabinet and two parties quit the coalition in a flurry of graft accusations. The tensions have delayed disbursements from a $17.5 billion bailout.
Ukrainian government bonds and the nation’s currency declined after news of Hroisman’s nomination. The yield on debt due 2019 rose three basis points to 9.914 percent, while the hryvnia, which has already slumped 8.3 percent against the dollar this year, retreated a further 0.2 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
In announcing Hroisman’s candidacy, Yuriy Lutsenko, who heads Poroshenko’s party in parliament, warned of the dangers of letting the political uncertainty persist. Four parties may unite to form a new ruling coalition in the legislature, he said.
“If we don’t resolve the political crisis next week, the only way out is through early elections, which carries a huge threat of political and economical destabilization.” Lutsenko told reporters.
Oleh Lyashko, whose Radical Party is considering rejoining the ruling coalition, played down Hroisman’s nomination.
“When we speak about a candidate for the prime minister’s job, this is one of the proposals,” said Lyashko, whose party has 20 seats in parliament. “It’s not a fact that Hroisman will be prime minister. It’s not a fact that Hroisman will be backed in parliament.”
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Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk emerged to lead Ukraine after a popular uprising two years ago ousted the country’s Kremlin-backed president, Viktor Yanukovych. Having climbed out of recession, restructured $15 billion of debt and signed a pact to end the armed conflict against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Poroshenko’s team splintered over efforts to stamp out corruption.
Hroisman has been parliament speaker since November 2014, serving before that as a deputy prime minister under Yatsenyuk and mayor of the city of Vinnytsya. His appointment, ahead of candidates such as U.S.-born Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, would consolidate Poroshenko’s grip on power.
In a sign Jaresko may not be a member of a Hroisman-led government, former Slovak Finance Minister Ivan Miklos was named by the parliament speaker as a possible ministerial appointment. There was insufficient support in parliament for an earlier proposal under which Jaresko would head a government of technocrats, according to Lutsenko. Jaresko’s office wasn’t immediately available to comment.
Hroisman, who’ll present his governing program on Friday, prioritized restarting cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, saying Ukraine must “flawlessly” implement its bailout.
Any change of premier would have to be accompanied by the resignation of Yatsenyuk, who survived a Feb. 16 no-confidence vote triggered by Poroshenko’s party.
(Updates with Hroisman quote in third paragraph, bonds, hryvnia in fifth.)
–With assistance from Daryna Krasnolutska To contact the reporters on this story: Volodymyr Verbyany in Kiev at firstname.lastname@example.org, Aliaksandr Kudrytski in Minsk, Belarus at email@example.com. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Hellmuth Tromm at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew Langley, Paul Abelsky
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