Ukraine coalition mulls replacing PM Yatseniuk with parliament speaker

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 24, 2016 10:24 AM

KIEV (Reuters) - Parties from Ukraine's ruling coalition on Thursday discussed replacing Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk with Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Groysman, a possible breakthrough in a months-long political crisis.

Yatseniuk's Western-backed government has been hanging by a thread since three smaller parties quit the coalition and President Petro Poroshenko publicly demanded his resignation.

A former regional mayor and Poroshenko ally, the 38-year-old Groysman could be an acceptable compromise figure to replace Yatseniuk, whose popularity has plunged in the two years since he took office after the 2013/2014 Maidan protests.

"People's Front will discuss the proposal from our partners in (President) Petro Poroshenko's party on the nomination of Volodymyr Groysman and the principles of forming a new coalition," Yatseniuk's party said in a statement.

Technocrat Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko, a foreign-born former fund manager, had also been considered as a possible candidate. But a lawmaker from Yatseniuk's party said there was not enough support for her in parliament.

Ukraine needs a stable government to conclude negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for new aid worth $1.7 billion to keep its war-torn economy afloat and pass economic and judicial reforms demanded by its Western backers.

(Reporting by Natlalia Zinets, Pavel Polityuk and Alessandra Prentice; Writing by Matthias Williams; editing by Ralph Boulton)