Groysman, who served as the speaker of parliament since November 2014, replaces Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who spent two years as prime minister.
Andriy Parubiy, Yatsenyuk’s party member and an active participant of the EuroMaidan Revolution that drove President Viktor Yanukovych from power two years ago, took over as speaker. He served as deputy speaker for Groysman. Poroshenko’s Bloc lawmaker Iryna Gerashchenko was voted in as the new deputy speaker.
Groysman, 38, becomes the youngest prime minister in Ukraine. He is a former mayor of Vinnytsia and a loyalist of President Petro Poroshenko.
The vote could end a long-running political crisis that started in the middle February, when the parliament tried and failed to unseat Yatsenyuk, prompting a breakdown of the ruling coalition.
Since then, the largest faction in parliament, the pro-presidential Bloc of Petro Poroshenko, has been trying to form a new coalition. Yatsenyuk agreed to resign if the bloc could garner enough votes to appoint his successor. He announced his resignation in a TV address on April 10.
After the former coalition members Samopomich, the Radical Party and Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna refused to form a new majority, Poroshenko Bloc attracted independent lawmakers, grew its numbers and formed a shaky coalition with the second-biggest faction, Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front. Together the two parties have 227 votes – just one vote above the required minimum for a ruling majority.
Apart from the new majority, Groysman’s candidacy was supported by 11 independent lawmakers, all 23 lawmakers of Vidrodzhennya (Renaissance), a group that is associated with oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, and 16 lawmakers of Volya Narodu (People’s Will).
The lawmakers held a single vote to dismiss Yatsenyuk, cancel an earlier decision that declared his work unsatisfactory, and appoint Groysman.
The all-in-one vote was criticised by the representatives of the opposition parties, who said the double vote was against the standing order of the Verkhovna Rada.
Groysman’s Cabinet was appointed with 239 votes.
Several ministers retained their seats in the new Cabinet, including Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, and Minister of Sports and Youth Ihor Zhdanov. The health minister seat remains vacant as there is no agreement on the candidate yet.
Former head of National Bank of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv was appointed economy minister. Deputy Head of President’s Administration Oleksandr Danyuliuk, who worked in the administration of Yanukovych, is the new minister of finance.
Appointment of Groysman marks a shift of power in Ukraine. After two years during which two parties, those of Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk, had relatively equal representation and influence in parliament and government, Poroshenko has strengthened his position through the appointment of a loyal prime minister.
Addressing the parliament before the vote, Poroshenko said that he had to interfere in the coalition formation because the country was going deeper and deeper into the political crisis.
“I was forced to take the role of a political moderator to enforce the decision that you, lawmakers, must approve today,” Poroshenko said.
In exchange for supporting Groysman’s candidacy, Yatsenyuk’s parliament faction the People’s Front was given the chance to appoint its member Parubiy as the speaker of parliament. The party also got several ministerial positions in the new government.
Groysman addressed the parliament before the vote. He named corruption, ineffective state and populism as three main enemies of Ukraine, and promised
“I swear to do everything so that neither the people, nor the president, nor the parliament regret appointing me,” said Groysman.
Yatsenyuk showed up in the parliament before the vote on April 14 to officially ask the lawmakers to dismiss him. After a short address, he quickly left the hall.
While addressing the parliament to urge it to support Groysman, Poroshenko warned against lambasting the Cabinet of Yatsenyuk.
“The resignation of the Cabinet is not a reason to throw rocks in their backs,” he said. “Yes, it lost the support of the parliament. But no Ukrainian government has ever worked in such harsh conditions as this one.”
Nevertheless, the representatives of the oppositional parties, including the Opposition Bloc, Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna, and Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party addressed the parliament with criticism of both Yatsenyuk and the new Cabinet and coalition.
Yatsenyuk was defended by his frequent critic, head of Poroshenko Bloc Yuri Lutsenko, who praised him for “creating a real Ukrainian army” and ensuring Ukraine’s energy independence from Russia.
“Yatsenyuk earned his applause today, just like he earned the criticism before,” Lutsenko said.
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