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UKRAINE APPOINTS NEW COALITION GOVERNMENT
Full list of newly appointed Cabinet of Ministers
Sayenko Kharenko law firm,
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 2, 2014
U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC),
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Kyiv, 2 December 2014: Ukraine appointed a new government this evening made up of 5 coalition partners, all embarking on a staunch pro-reform and anti-corruption trek. With an ongoing military conflict in eastern Ukraine, the country of 45 million continues to face challenges ahead, including running an economy that is forecast to contract by 10% GDP, a currency that has devalued by 50 per cent over the past 12 months and inflation running at 20 per cent.
Ukraine's political elite has a reputation of endemic corruption: the country has been ranked 144th in the world according to the Corruption Perceptions Index 2013.
However, the events of the past 12 months have seen enormous changes with the pro-Moscow Yanukovych regime ousted and President Petro Poroshenko voted in a historic first-round victory earlier this May. The EuroMaidan protests and Revolution of Human Dignity have greatly affected the composition of the new parliament, which assembled last week, as well as the new government voted in today. 56% of the Verkhovna Rada are newly-elected, with no previous parliamentary experience. It is a pro-European and young parliament - average age 44 years. The newly elected speaker, Volodymyr Groysman, is 36, while Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk turned 40 in May.
27 seats out of 450 in parliament remain unfilled, due to inability to conduct elections in Crimea and some electoral districts in eastern Ukraine. The composition of the new parliament is an eclectic mix of former civil rights activists, military fighters back from the front, business representatives, anti-corruption reformers, old-guard representatives, which is likely to lead to internal criticism and debate within parliamentary blocs.
The coalition consists of 5 blocs and the talks have been tough with fervent bouts of discussions on key appointments, initially on who would become PM (President Poroshenko had preferred to see Mr. Groysman in this job) and also debacles other key ministerial posts, especially Minister of Interior. Ukraine observers are seeing a risk of flashback of the talks post Orange revolution 9 years ago.
The major surprise in today’s new Cabinet was that, for the first time in Ukraine's history, non-Ukrainian citizens have been appointed to key ministerial posts. Many of the new appointments are not from the public sector, highly regarded by their peers and recognised for their professionalism.
A brand new law on 'lobbying' is already being discussed by MPs, with input and suggestions being collated. MPs salaries remain exceptionally low, with public debates taking place on how parliamentarians can survive on such low salaries.
Even with all the challenges currently facing businesses in Ukraine, we are cautiously optimistic that changes are taking place in GR approaches, with clients now having more of chance of a level playing field, and achieving Public Affairs and GR objectives.