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Ukraine appointed a new government

09 December 2014

December 2, 2014: Ukraine appointed a new government made up of 5 coalition partners, all embarking on a staunch pro-reform and anti-corruption trek.

With an ongoing military conflict in Eastern Ukraine, the country of 45 million population continues to face challenges ahead, including running an economy that is forecasted to contract by 10% GDP, a currency that has devalued by 50% over the past 12 months and inflation running at 20%.

Ukraine’s political elite has a reputation of endemic corruption: the country has been ranked 144th in the world according to the Corruption Perceptions Index 2013.

However, the events of the past 12 months have seen enormous changes with the pro-Moscow Yanukovych regime ousted and President Petro Poroshenko voted in a historic first-round victory earlier this May. The EuroMaidan protests and Revolution of Human Dignity have greatly affected the composition of the new parliament, which assembled last week, as well as the new government voted in today. 56% of the Verkhovna Rada are newly elected, with no previous parliamentary experience. It is a pro-European and young parliament — average age 44 years. The newly elected speaker, Volodymyr Groysman, is 36, while Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk turned 40 in May.

27 seats out of 450 in parliament remain unfilled, due to inability to conduct elections in Crimea and some electoral districts in Eastern Ukraine. The composition of the new parliament is an eclectic mix of former civil rights activists, military fighters back from the front, business representatives, anti-corruption reformers, old-guard representatives, which is likely to lead to internal criticism and debate within parliamentary blocs.

The coalition consists of 5 blocks and the talks have been tough with fervent bouts of discussions on key appointments and ministerial posts. Some of the most important figures in Prime Minister Yatseniuk’s Government are:

Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Development and Communal Services — Genadiy Zubko
Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Culture — Vyacheslav Kyrylenko
Vice Prime Minister — Valeriy Voschevskyi
Minister of Foreign Affairs — Pavlo Klimkin
Minister of Finance — Natalie Jaresko
Minister of Economy — Aivaras Abramovychus

The major surprise in today’s new Cabinet was that, for the first time in Ukraine’s history, non-Ukrainian-born citizens have been appointed to key ministerial posts. The “foreigners” were promptly granted Ukrainian citizenship just hours before being approved as ministers.

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