Resignation of yatsenyuk: kiev wants to avoid new elections

After a two-month government crisis, a Poroshenko confidant is now expected to call a fresh start without new elections – the Fatherland Party, the Opposition Bloc and the Radical Party were then in the lead

Ukrainian President Poroshenko also embarrassed by the Panama Papers. After that, the oligarch, who still did not divest from his companies as promised when he took office, had set up three interconnected shell companies scattered in the Virgin Islands, Cyprus and the Netherlands. Apparently, no large sums of money have been transacted through it, and it is quite possible that it has more.

The revelation has dealt a blow to the already troubled government after the ruling coalition had already collapsed. Calls for the resignation of the president have been voiced by the right-wing. Now it has happened to the President of the Republic as well. Overthrown, Poroshenko now wants to ensure more transparency and an acceleration of reforms in general.

Yatsenyuk, the head of government favored by Washington after the Maidan, who has virtually no support left in parliament and, according to polls, among the people, has been urged to resign for two months already. Previously, Aivaras AbromaviCius, the Minister of Economic Development and Trade, who was brought in from Lithuania by Poroshenko, resigned, criticizing the Yatsenyuk government for its unwillingness to fight corruption and implement reforms. Yatsenyuk is suspected of being involved in corruption himself. However, it is difficult to see how anything can change for the better with a president who is himself an oligarch, continues to run a television station and is entangled in the networks of the power elite.

Arsenji Yatsenyuk during his resignation announcement. Image: kmu.gov.ua

Poroshenko failed to get rid of his rival with a motion of no confidence introduced by the Poroshenko bloc in February. It has not become clear what power play was behind this, presumably there was disagreement about the successor (Ukraine: blowing off steam against Yatsenyuk). However, this was the reason for the Fatherland Party and the Samopomich Party to fall out of the governing coalition, thus opening the way to new elections. Yatsenyuk and the party he founded, the Popular Front, have practically lost their chances, and Poroshenko has also lost a great deal of confidence in the party, a situation that has been exacerbated by the revelations about his shell companies.

Apparently there was no other way or a final agreement was reached on a successor, Volodymyr Groysman, who is favored by Poroshenko. Groysman is parliamentary president, was already involved in the transitional government under Yatsenyuk as a minister and vice-president, but then quickly joined Poroshenko’s party before the elections. For many years he was the mayor of Vinnytsia, the very place where Poroshenko’s Roshen chocolate factory is located and where the oligarch has his constituency, through which he was directly elected to parliament.

On Sunday Yatsenyuk announced his resignation. On Tuesday, he reportedly intends to submit this to parliament, and his party, the Popular Front, will apparently continue to belong to the governing coalition. If there were new elections, not only Yatsenyuk would disappear from the political stage, but also his party.

For him, the political crisis is only a "artfully staged" been. He presents himself as a pawn who gives in because there can be no instability in a country at war. He praised the government he led as the best Ukraine has ever had. The transitional government, which he also headed, and his government were the main "unique" had been and had "New Ukraine" . After his resignation, he will continue to be active in politics, promising that his program will be even more comprehensive.

The main problem is not political, but moral: "As in our everyday life, politics is a result of morality – our ethical standards. If the political rules have to be changed because of the morality of the people, then the rules will change." This could be a bit too much, because Yatsenyuk came under prere not only because of the neoliberal reforms imposed by the IMF and an unsuccessful economic policy, but also because of scandals and accusations of corruption, i.e. for moral reasons.

President Poroshenko had already announced a new start for the government, as prere from the EU and even the U.S. government was growing to finally move forward with the reform process, fight corruption and advance the Minsk Agreement, which is also stalled because Kiev is not implementing the agreed requirements for local elections in Donetsk and Lugansk.

Now Poroshenko is calling on parliament to quickly form a new governing coalition to confirm the new head of government: "I hope that the majority of deputies will be responsible, form a coalition and present me with a candidacy for prime minister on Tuesday." He said he was sure that a different composition of parliament would not be better, meaning that new elections would not be necessary: "Probably the first president who does not want a confrontation between parliament and government. I have no other parliament." The president must dissolve parliament and order new elections if there is no government majority. He wants to prevent that at all costs.

No confidence in the government, in the parliament and in the politicians

The fear was allowed to be coarse that the parliament would not play along to actually depose Yatsenyuk. The West has probably written off Yatsenyuk and is clinging to Poroshenko to ensure that the oligarch-ruled bankrupt country does not decay further politically. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden had made further financial aid conditional on a new formation of the government.

A survey from March shows that in the event of new elections, the more radical, even right-wing parties can expect to make gains; the strongest parties were probably the Fatherland Party and the Radical Party, which have already left the government coalition in order not to be swept away. The opposition bloc also has a good chance of becoming the second strongest faction.

However, the party landscape is fractured, with no party receiving more than 10 percent according to the survey. A stable government would be very difficult. The "Revolution of the Were" has not brought the government that is supported by the majority of the population. The skepticism about Ukrainian democracy and elections is gross. 21 percent say they would not go to the polls, 21.5 percent say they did not know who to vote for.

The majority of the population holds Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko responsible for the bad economic situation, 87 percent say it has worsened. In a presidential election, Tymoshenko would probably win over Poroshenko. 43 percent support new elections, 37 percent oppose them.

Whether people will approve the replacement of Yatsenyuk by Groysman is also an open question. In the poll, most of the respondents were in favor of Tymoshenko or the Georgian ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, who was appointed governor of Odessa oblast by Poroshenko and who had clashed with Yatsenyuk. But actually the people do not trust any politician. Ukrainians are also aware of the conflict with eastern Ukraine and Russia. They want a peaceful solution through negotiations, which would probably also mean that Kiev would meet with the representatives of the "People’s Republic" had to negotiate directly.