Ukraine parliament appoints Shmygal as new PM

Kiev (AFP) –


Ukraine's parliament on Wednesday approved Denys Shmygal as the new prime minister after his predecessor resigned, caught out by a leaked recording of him criticising the president.

The majority of lawmakers voted to back President Volodymyr Zelensky's nominee Shmygal, who previously held the post of deputy prime minister in charge of regional development.

Earlier in the day parliament approved the resignation of Oleksiy Goncharuk after he spent only six months on the job.

Goncharuk had offered to resign on Tuesday, in his second attempt to quit after a leaked recording emerged in January of him questioning President Volodymyr Zelensky’s grasp of economics.

Presenting Shmygal to lawmakers ahead of the vote, Zelensky said he hoped that "we will finally have a government for people".

Shmygal vowed to address economic and social issues in a country still locked in a conflict with separatists in the east.

"Ukrainians must see and feel that the state is protecting them," he said before the vote.

Later Wednesday some key ministerial posts were expected to be shuffled.

Before being appointed as deputy head of the government last month, Shmygal was governor of the western Ivano-Frankivsk region.

Earlier he worked as for an energy company owned by the Ukraine's richest man, the powerful oligarch Rinat Akhmetov.

Comedian-turned-politician Zelensky came to power last April promising to "break the system" that had ruled Ukraine since independence in 1991.

Among his campaign promises were ending the conflict in the east, fighting corruption and reforming Ukraine's economy which is reliant on foreign aid.