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Ukraine President Signs Key Anti-Graft Legislation

  • VOA News

FILE - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks to the media during a news conference in Kyiv.

FILE - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks to the media during a news conference in Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday signed anti-graft legislation that Kyiv says could see hundreds of thousands of civil servants lose their jobs if found to have links with past Soviet or pro-Russian governments.

The so-called "lustration" bill aims to remove any civil servant who held a federal or regional government position for more than a year under former pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych.

Separate legislation set for approval next week will force judiciary and law enforcement officials to declare their financial assets and other holdings, as well as those of their families. That legislation also would create an anti-corruption unit to investigate cases in which the lifestyles of those officials are found to exceed their declared family incomes.

Since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has developed a global reputation for corruption at virtually all levels of government and public life.

The new laws, spurred by growing anti-graft sentiment within the Kyiv government and its pro-Western supporters, come ahead of October 26 parliamentary elections and local polls set for December.

Former president Yanukovych was driven from office early this year. He fled to Russia in February, after more than two months of protests led by pro-Western activists demanding an end to public corruption they say helped Yanukovych allies and family members accrue enormous wealth.

Western analysts say Ukraine's culture of corruption is largely responsible for the flight of Western investors who have abandoned the cash-poor country in the past half decade.

The reform push also is driven by public sector reform demands from the European Union, which earlier this year linked Ukraine's possible future membership in the 28-nation trade bloc to making efforts to curb public graft.

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