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8 Oct, 2021 13:13

Ukrainian president rallies party to oust speaker of Parliament: Zelensky continues to silence dissent & tighten grip on power

Ukrainian president rallies party to oust speaker of Parliament: Zelensky continues to silence dissent & tighten grip on power

Ukrainian MPs have voted to remove parliamentary speaker Dmitry Razumkov after clashes over a new bill that aims to reduce the influence of oligarchs on the political system. Razumkov disagreed with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

On Thursday, 284 members of the 450-MP-strong Verkhovna Rada supported the motion against Razumkov, including the vast majority of representatives from the Servant of the People ruling party.

Razumkov, as a member of the faction, was a crucial part of Zelensky’s election team in 2019. He was rewarded later that year when he was elected to the post of speaker.

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However, in recent times, he has fallen out of favor with his colleagues after he opposed the quick passage of new legislation supposedly intended to limit the influence of oligarchs on Ukrainian politics, with Razumkov calling for it to be reviewed by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission before being put on the books.

By refusing to toe the line, he appears to have lost support within the party.

“I have never sailed with the current. I did not do that in 2019. And I won’t do it today,” Razumkov said on Thursday, before noting that he could now work towards being elected president.

Earlier this week, Zelensky stated that Razumkov was no longer a member of his team, and he had chosen instead to live his own political life. He also accused the former speaker of collecting MP signatures for the president’s impeachment.

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Party leader Alexander Kornienko also attacked Razumkov, calling him “sly.”

Following Razumkov’s ousting, opposition figures accused Zelensky of a purge, with Yury Boyko, the co-chairman of the party Opposition Platform – For Life, likening it to the “great terror” when someone is accused of “being an enemy of the people.” The European Solidarity faction head, Irina Gerashchenko, also agreed with this sentiment, accusing Zelensky of removing someone because they tried to stay somewhat independent.

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