14 Apr. — The Ukrainian parliament voted, with 239 votes in favour, for a new government. Former speaker and president’s protégé Volodymyr Groysman became head of the cabinet on ministers. The new prime minister has already promised to restore the confidence of both the ordinary citizens of Ukraine and its international partners.
Over the past few months, attempts to form a new government have run parallel with a discussion about the resignation of now-former prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (see our infographic). However, they repeatedly stalled because of the leading political parties’ complete inability to either choose a compromise replacement for the post or to enlist the support of the necessary number of deputies in parliament. It was not until mid-April that the Petro Poroshenko Bloc (BPP) and Popular Front could finally resolve all of the issues involved.
As a result, Volodymyr Groysman was elected new prime minister. 257 People’s Deputies voted for him. (The minimum needed was 226.) A few less voted for the composition of the government. The list of the coalition members has yet to be published (although Ukrainian law requires that the coalition be formed first, and then the prime minister voted on).
The factions of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc and Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s Popular Front supported his nomination, and they were joined by the deputy groups “Will of the People” (primarily former Party of Regions members) and “Revival” (considered close to the oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi). It is most likely that they will also form the coalition.
Meanwhile, many political parties and deputies took a stand against the new government. In particular, “Fatherlander” Yulia Tymoshenko, who had announced that she was going into the opposition in early April, voted along with her faction against Groysman. Moreover, Timoshenko promised to appeal to the Constitutional Court because of the violations during the appointment of the government. The Opposition Bloc and Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party did not support him either. Finally, there was even a small group of deputies from the BPP itself that opposed him.
Ukrainian experts are likewise divided in opinion as to the chances for the new government’s being successful. Political analyst Oleksandr Paliy thinks that “the success of Groysman’s government depends on how many positive things it manages to accomplish”. Taras Berezovets, the director of the consulting firm Berta Communications, has come to a similar conclusion. He believes that if there are real prospects for a visa-free regime with the EU, decisive actions are taken against corruption, tax reforms are conducted and the “East-Ukrainian question” is settled, the new government has a great chance of working smoothly for at least a year.
Ukrainian experts are skeptical about the possibility of Groysman truly changing the country’s trajectory. Vadim Karasyov, the director of the Global Strategies Institute, is convinced that “in order to overcome the crisis, more powerful instruments of resetting the authority structure are needed, and these can only be [early parliamentary] elections.” “Right now we have only gotten a tablet for the pain, but by fall we will need surgery,” the expert thinks.
And finally, the government does not enjoy substantial support among the population since the parties backing him are simply weak now. Recent polls have shown that the ratings of the BPP and Popular Front are extremely low – 7% and 1% respectively. And that is why, as political commentator Pavel Sheremet of the daily Ukrainskaya Pravda stated, the formation of Groysman’s government “not only fails to remove the problem of early parliamentary elections but also increases the likelihood of early presidential elections.”