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Ukraine's Poroshenko asks Prime Minister Yatsenyuk to resign

AFP, Presidential press service, Mykola Lazarenko | President Petro Poroshenko (right) and his prime minister, Arseny Yatseniuk (left), have had a difficult relationship ever since their election in 2014.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday asked his embattled prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and the country's controversial prosecutor general to resign, saying they had lost the public's trust.

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Poroshenko

's dramatic intervention came as opinion polls showed growing public disenchantment with the pro-Western team that took over the leadership of the former Soviet nation after its 2014 pro-Western revolt.

"In order to restore trust in the government, the president asked the prosecutor general and the prime minister to quit," presidential spokesman Svyatoslav Tsegolko tweeted.

“[S]ociety has clearly decided there have been more mistakes than achievements, and denied ministers its trust,” the presidency later added in a statement, urging Yatsenyuk’s cabinet and General Prosecutor Viktor Shokin to quit.

Reporting from Kiev, FRANCE 24’s Gulliver Cragg said it was “technically not in the president’s powers to fire the prime minister”, but that parliament would vote on the matter.

Lawmakers could vote as early as Tuesday on a report that reviews the government's performance in 2015 and its agenda for this year, although the timeframe is still unclear.

If the government loses, lawmakers will need 150 signatures in parliament to hold a no confidence vote, which could lead to national elections if the coalition cannot agree on a new cabinet.

“It looks like the end of the road for Yatsenyuk,” said Gulliver Cragg. “As one MP put it to me, it would really be ridiculous for him to try to stay on now.”

Yatsenyuk has held the prime minister’s post for almost three years after playing a key role in the fall of former president Viktor Yanukovitch.

He came to power “on promises to reform the country, Europeanise it and cut corruption, but his government has been mired in corruption scandals,” said Cragg.

“Ukrainians have really lost confidence in the prime minister, also because of the economy, which shrank by 12% last year,” he added.

FRANCE24’s correspondent said it was significant that Poroshenko had also called for Shokin to go, noting that he had finally caved in to overwhelming pressure – including from Washington – to remove the powerful prosecutor general.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
 

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