Yatsenyuk threatens to quit as Ukraine PM

5th February 2016, Comments 0 comments

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Friday threatened to quit along with his entire government in the latest development of a political crisis rocking the former Soviet state.

"We all came in as one team and we will continue working in the future as one team," the 41-year-old cabinet leader told a televised session of parliament.

"And if it is decided that this team should be changed, then we will all leave together," Yatsenyuk said.

Ukraine has been on edge since the shock resignation on Wednesday of its reformist Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius.

The Lithuanian-born economy chief accused a top member of President Petro Poroshenko's party of trying to get his own people into senior ministry posts and blocking his efforts to break the tycoons' years-long stranglehold on state industries.

Abromavicius's resignation sparked alarm among Ukraine's Western allies and prompted Poroshenko to hold a meeting with ambassadors from the G7 countries in a bid to allay their concerns.

The economy minister had been praised abroad for trying to make the country's corruption-riven business practises more transparent and to push through a stalled privatisation drive that could help fill Ukraine's depleted state coffers.

Poroshenko came out of Thursday's meeting with the foreign envoys with slightly mixed message.

"The president underscored his determination to continue the reforms that the Ukrainian society expects from the authorities," his website said.

"For this to happen, it is essential to reset the government," it quoted him as saying.

The prospects of a cabinet reshuffle in mid-February has been forecast by the Ukrainian media for some time.

But Yatsenyuk's statement appeared to be aimed directly at Poroshenko's remarks about a government "reset".

The two leaders worked closely together in the hope-filled days that followed Ukraine's dramatic 2014 pro-Western revolution and through the subsequent pro-Russian revolt in the separatist east.

But disagreements between the two have come to the fore and Yatsenyuk seems unwilling to let the president and his parliamentary party have more influence over the coalition government's makeup.

Some of Poroshenko's allies have accused Yatsenyuk of providing cover for shadowy business interests that have had a strong say over the country's politics for decades.

He denies the allegations but has been accused of dragging his feet on reforms prescribed by the International Monetary Fund as part of its $17.5-billion (15.6-billion-euro) economic rescue plan.

© 2016 AFP

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