Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction lawmakers Mustafa Nayyem, Svitlana Zalishchuk, and Sergii Leshchenko have been excluded from the list of the new Democratic Alliance political party’s upper leadership.

Independent lawmaker Victoria Ptashnyk and current party leader Vasyl Gatsko were elected as co-heads of DemAlliance after the party conference on Nov. 19.

Before the conference, Zalishchuk co-headed the party with Gatsko. She had served in that role since July. Nayyem and Leshchenko were included in the party management up until this weekend’s vote.

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But, according to Ptashnyk, all three had decided not to stand for their posts this time around.

On her Facebook page, Ptashnyk expressed gratitude to the former party management members Zalishchuk, Nayyem and Leshchenko and others.

“Although these people decided not run for management posts this time, they are still DemAlliance members and will keep working on the party’s development and the implementation of its program,” wrote Ptashnyk.

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From left: DemAlliance Party members Oleg Derevianko, Vasyl Gatsko, Svitlana Zalishchuk, Vladislav Olenchenko, Victoria Ptashnyk and Sergii Leshchenko pose for a group photo on Nov. 19. (Courtesy by DemAllience/Facebook) (Courtesy/DemAlliance Facebook)

Zalishchuk told the Kyiv Post on Nov. 20 that all three lawmakers decided not to stand for their posts because being in the party management meant working on its development every day. She added that it’s impossible for them to devote so much time. However, they have joined the party council, which is a higher DemAlliance power chamber than the directorate.

“An acting lawmaker can only devote so much of his or her personal time to the party. So it would be unfair for us to stay in the directorate, especially now when the party is just starting,” said Zalishchuk.

“The guys (Nayyem and Leshchenko) have even less time to spend on managing duties. It took four hour meetings several times a week, while leading a political force means working on its development every single day,” she added.

In June, Leshchenko announced the creation of the new political force on the basis of the DemAlliance party and soon joined it with Zalishchuk and Nayyem. At the same time, all three decided to keep their membership in the Poroshenko Bloc faction.

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Olexiy Honcherenko, deputy head of the Poroshenko Bloc party, told Ukrainska Pravda news website that on Nov. 14 it was decided to suspend Zalishchuk and Nayyem from the international delegations because of their membership in DemAlliance. Ihor Kononenko was the initiator of their dismissal.

Before that decision, Zalishchuk was the deputy head of the Ukrainian delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) and Nayyem represented Ukraine in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

Despite being excluded from international delegations, Zalishchuk has no plans to leave the Poroshenko Bloc faction.

“I will continue to work in the Rada. If I leave the Poroshenko faction, it will give Kononenko a chance to strip me of my status in parliament. I am not loyal to Poroshenko’s party; I just want to fulfill my duty,” said Zalishchuk.

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