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Ukrainian PM Survives No Confidence Vote


Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, center, reacts after surviving a vote of no confidence, in Parliament in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016.

Ukraine's prime minister survived a no confidence vote Tuesday, just hours after the country's president asked him to resign in the face of what is perceived as the government's failure to fight corruption and overcome an economic crisis.

The motion to remove Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk received only 194 of the required 226 votes in Ukraine's 450-seat parliament.

President Petro Poroshenko's surprise request followed opinion polls that showed growing public disenchantment with Yatsenyuk's pro-Western government.

Recent opinion polls showed that 70 percent of Ukrainians supported Yatsenyuk's ouster and only one percent backed his People's Front parliamentary bloc.

A 41-year-old former banker, favorite of the West and passionate foe of Russia, Yatsenyuk vowed to clean up the government by cutting its ties to tycoons. However, voters soon grew suspicious that he was backing the interests of the billionaires he had promised to cut off.

On Sunday, Ukraine's deputy prosecutor-general, Vitaly Kasko, stepped down from his post, accusing Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, a Poroshenko appointee, of blocking corruption investigations.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt called Kasko's resignation "a blow to Ukraine's reform progress."

Earlier this month, Aivaras Abromavicius stepped down from his post as Ukraine's economy minister, citing political pressure and corruption.

In announcing his resignation, Abromavicius charged that Igor Kononenko, a Poroshenko ally in Ukraine's parliament, had lobbied to have loyalists appointed to key positions in state-owned enterprises, and even to the post of deputy economy minister.