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You're reading: New government sign of Yanukovych weakness

This delay of almost two months indicates his problem in appointing a new government. Moreover, two of the 23 cabinet posts were left vacant. Yet, rather than reaching out, Yanukovych has further narrowed his already so slim power base.

The government formation can best be explained in terms of clan competition. The Yanukovych family clan made a significant gain from five to nine cabinet members out of a total of 21, but the big winner was Rinat Akhmetov, who jumped from two to six ministers. Everyone else was marginalized. 

Two loyalists of gas trader Dmytro Firtash stayed in the government, but they were kicked upstairs as deputy prime ministers (former Minister of Energy Yuri Boiko and former Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko), while three relatively independent loyalists of Yanukovych stayed on (Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, Justice Minister Oleksandr Lavrynovych and Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk).

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