News / Europe

Ukraine PM Resigns Amid Economic Crisis

FILE - Ukraine's Prime Minister Mykola Azarov speaks during an interview in Kyiv, Ukraine, June 20, 2012.
FILE - Ukraine's Prime Minister Mykola Azarov speaks during an interview in Kyiv, Ukraine, June 20, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Stefan Bos
— Ukraine is facing political uncertainty after the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his Cabinet Monday. The president has asked the prime minister to stay on as interim leader as the country prepares for talks with international lenders on multi-billion-dollar financial assistance to help overcome its economic crisis.  

The office of Ukraine's president, Viktor Yanukovych, said Azarov, who is 64, resigned because he wanted to take his parliamentary seat rather than stay on as prime minister.

He made the decision after spending two-and-a-half years trying to revive the debt-ridden economy. Despite these efforts, the economy shrank in part because demand declined for Ukraine's main export products, such as steel. The national currency, the hryvna, has also weakened.

In a statement, the presidency said Azarov's resignation means the end of the current government.

Under Ukrainian law, if the prime minister steps down, the entire Cabinet must do so along with the government chief.

Opposition leader Arsenij Jatzenjuk said he is pleased with Prime Minister Azarov's resignation - but added that the president should leave as well. He says President Yanukovych started to fulfill the opposition program because he sent away the government, but he forgot to write a declaration about his own resignation. The opposition leader claims that these are just "cosmetic changes,” and warns it will not solve, in his words, the difficult economic situation that Ukraine currently faces because of this government and president. Jatzenjuk says Ukraine is “on the edge of losing its gold reserves.”

The Cabinet's collapse comes shortly after the October 28 elections that were overshadowed by reports of vote-rigging and the imprisonment of key opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, on controversial charges of abuse of power.

Critics claim Yanukovych seeks a new prime minister within the "family," the word used to describe close acquaintances of the president, such as the first deputy prime minister or the national bank chief.

Yet, the ruling Party of Regions parliamentary chief Olexander Efremov says it is too early to draw conclusions. He says there are several candidates for the job of prime minister, adding that he “does not exclude” the possibility that Azarov will become prime minister again.

Ukraine's president has asked Azarov and his government to stay on in an interim capacity ahead of crucial talks with the International Monetary Fund on securing a new bailout loan.

The previous aid program was frozen due to what IMF delegates said was "the government's refusal" to implement unpopular austerity reforms.

Among IMF demands are calls to raise natural gas and heating prices for households to cut the growing budget deficit. Ukraine says it hopes to use fresh IMF loans to repay $6.4 billion of its debt to the international financial body next year.

The country is also involved in tough negotiations with Russia, Ukraine's main energy provider, to try to bring down the cost of imported natural gas, which Kyiv claims is above market prices and a huge drain on the already troubled economy.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Igor from: Lviv
December 10, 2012 5:16 PM
Relax, everybody. The Cabinet has not been disbanded. Most of the Cabinet ministers have been elected to Parliament. They are required to submit their resignations under law... This is a very strange article, to say the least.


by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
December 05, 2012 7:16 PM
A very bad sit. If the US/West, especially the EU, do not help reform, streamline, and diversify the Ukrainian economy, the country will probably fall appart amicably at best; or at worse, radical elements will take over it and a stalinist type of dictatorship will take hold of the country. In any case, the result will be thousands upon thousands of refugees/migrants/ displaced people. To stabilize the Ukr economy, more than money is required, it requires TECHNICAL/EDUCATIONAL assistance to set up proper markets. The people, by need, are hardworking; unfortunately a century+ under foreign exploitative rulers has damaged their ability to develop a modern self-sustaining economy.


by: C from: USA
December 04, 2012 9:48 PM
This story has not been reported in the New York Times. I have written to the editor in confusion. I think it is pretty big news.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid