Ukraine PM resigns 2 months after narrowly dodging no-confidence vote

After weeks of political crisis in Kiev, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk has announced his long-expected resignation.

Yatsenyuk made his decision public on Sunday in a televised address, saying he would formally submit his resignation to parliament on Tuesday.

The prime minister has been a highly unpopular figure in Ukraine with his approval ratings languishing in the single-digit range. The public blames him for a ruined economy and the failure to implement reforms he had promised when taking office following the February 2014 coup.

Звернення Прем'єр-міністра України

Я прийняв рішення скласти повноваження Прем’єр-міністра України. 12 квітня подання буде внесено до Верховної Ради. Політична криза в державі розв’язана штучно. Бажання змінити одну особу засліпило політиків і паралізувало їхню волю до реальних змін. Процес зміни Уряду перетворився на бездумний біг на місці.Не можна допустити дестабілізації виконавчої влади під час війни. Така перспектива неминуча, якщо після відставки не буде негайно обрано новий Уряд України. Фракція Блоку Петра Порошенка висунула на посаду Глави Уряду Володимира Гройсмана. Зробивши все для стабільності і спадкоємності курсу, заявляю про рішення передати обов’язки та відповідальність керівника Уряду.Цей Уряд є найкращим в історії України. Обидва останні Уряди – унікальні: вони - провісники нової України. Дякую тим колегам, які діяли чесно та безкорисно.Упродовж двох років війни, складних, але правильних реформ головною опорою нашого Уряду в Парламенті були мої соратники з «Народного Фронту». Вдячний їм за підтримку. Прошу підтримати моє рішення і разом продовжити спільну справу. «Народний Фронт» залишається в коаліції, бо зараз це єдиний засіб оборонити державуДякую нашому народові, суспільству, громадським активістам, волонтерам, дякую кожному з вас за витривалість і терпіння.Відсьогодні бачу свої завдання ширше, ніж повноваження керівника Уряду. Нове виборче законодавство. Конституційна реформа. Судова реформа. Коаліційний контроль за курсом нового Уряду. Міжнародна підтримка України. Членство України в Європейському Союзі і НАТО. Це – частина моєї програми.Суть наших проблем не є суто політичною. Вона є етичною. Політика є наслідком моралі, наших етичних стандартів. Якщо гідність і мораль вимагають змінити політичні правила, зміна цих правил обов’язково настане.__________________________________________I have taken the decision to resign as Prime Minister of Ukraine. On Tuesday, April 12 my request will be submitted to the Parliament. 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. The process of changing the Government turned into a mindless running in place.We cannot allow destabilization of the executive branch during a war. This would be inevitable, if after this resignation a new Government of Ukraine is not selected immediately. The Parliamentary faction of the Block 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.This Government is the best in the history of Ukraine. Both of the last two Cabinets were unique. They were the first manifestations of New Ukraine. I thank those colleagues who have acted honestly and selflessly.Over the past two years of war, my fellow party members from People’s Front faction have been a pillar of support to the Government in Parliament during difficult unpopular, but necessary reforms. I thank People’s Front for its support. Please support my decision and continue our joint work together. People's Front remains in the coalition because today it is the only way to defend the state.I thank our nation, society, civil society activists, volunteers; I thank each and every one of you for your endurance and patience.As of today my goals are broader than the authority of the Head of Government. New electoral law. Constitutional reform. Judicial reform. Coalition control over the direction of the new Government. International support of Ukraine. Ukraine’s membership in the European Union and NATO. This is only a part of my program.The core of our problems is not purely political. It is ethical. As in our everyday lives, politics is the result of morality - our ethical standards. If dignity and morality require changing the political rules, then changing these rules is certain to occur.

Posted by Арсеній Яценюк on Sunday, April 10, 2016

The final stages of his tenure were marred by an ugly political scandal when his economy minister, Aivaras Abromavicius, announced his resignation over alleged corruption in the Ukrainian government.

As the crisis unfolded, the ruling coalition in the Ukrainian parliament collapsed. Under Ukrainian law, President Petro Poroshenko can call an early election if a new coalition isn’t formed, but opinion polls say his own party would lose seats in that case as well.

Poroshenko tried to resolve the debacle in the cabinet by calling on Yatsenyuk to resign, but he refused to do so. An attempt to fire him through a parliament vote failed in what was a major embarrassment for the president.

Yatsenyuk said the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine “was created artificially” and has become personal for politicians.

He added that his government was “the best in the history of Ukraine” and a “manifestation of the new Ukraine.”

The outgoing PM said that he now has goals that are broader than the authority a mere head of government.

“New electoral law. Constitutional reform. Judicial reform. Coalition control over the direction of the new government. International support of Ukraine. Ukraine’s membership in the European Union and NATO. This is only a part of my program,” he said.

According to Yatsenyuk, parliament speaker Vladimir Groysman will be Ukraine’s next PM.

Despite his resignation, Yatsenyuk said that his party, the People’s Front, will stay in the ruling coalition. "The People's Front will remain a coalition member as today it is the only possible way to defend the country," he said after announcing his decision to step down, as quoted by TASS.

Yatsenyuk added that he was optimistic about his party’s political prospects, despite the lack of popular support. "We love our country and ratings are things that come and go," he said.

Poroshenko told Ukrainian TV on Sunday that he will not dissolve the current  parliament. “I respect the Ukrainian parliament. I want no confrontation with either the parliament or the government. I have no other parliament for you and will have none whatsoever,” he was quoted as saying by TASS.

Gilbert Doctorow of Russia Insider pointed out that Yatsenyuk’s resignation occurred shortly after Ukraine’s association agreement with the EU had been rejected in a Dutch referendum.

“This raised the feeling of crisis within the Ukrainian political elites and made [Yatsenyuk’s] departure something essential so they would have a sacrificial lamb and they would appear before Europeans in particular, and IMF as well, to be making some progress in putting their house in order,” he told RT.

Doctorow said that Kiev is keenly aware of what its European partners are saying about Ukraine’s EU aspirations. “The Ukraine is not going to join the EU any time soon, in fact, not in the next 20-30 years, which in political terms [means] never,” he said, adding that this was very damaging to the Ukrainian leadership’s image at home.