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Ukrainian Lawmakers Refuse to Dismiss PM


FILE - Ukrainian lawmakers vote during a parliament session in Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 7, 2019.

Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has rejected Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman's resignation after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on May 20 called on the government to step down.

Only 97 lawmakers voted on May 30 in favor of Groysman's resignation -- far short of the 226 votes needed to accept Groysman's resignation.

The vote came the same day as Zelenskiy's office announced that the president had formally asked the parliament to dismiss Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, and Security Service chief Vasyl Hrytsak.

The president's office added that a move to dismiss Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko was pending.

A day after his inauguration, Zelenskiy issued a decree disbanding the parliament and calling snap elections in July, and proposed changes in the electoral process.

However the Verkhovna Rada, at a May 22 emergency session, voted against debating amendments proposed by Zelenskiy, underscoring the challenge he faces from the very start of his five-year term.

The two votes against the president's proposals appear to highlight a standoff between lawmakers and Zelenskiy, a political novice who has no formal support in the current parliament.