Earlier this week, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk resigned amid pressure and supposed corruption in the Ukrainian government. This is a huge move, as the country is already struggling politically both with domestic and international affairs. As the New York Times states, it is a “move that opened a new period of political uncertainty here.”
But the revolution’s leaders soon turned on each other. Although authority is supposed to be balanced evenly between the president and the prime minister, Ukraine’s Western allies eventually sided with Mr. Poroshenko and pushed Mr. Yatsenyuk to step aside.
In recent months, both men had been resisting compromises on appointments and were reportedly thwarting corruption investigations into allies, threatening Western aid.
He emerged as a popular figure, but his support largely evaporated because of various scandals and missteps. A political ally, for example, was forced to resign from Parliament after it emerged that he was under investigation for money laundering in Switzerland.
Mr. Yatsenyuk confronted tremendous challenges as prime minister, not least because of the Russian annexation of Crimea and military intervention in the east during his tenure. Ukraine’s morass of financial problems required a $40 billion international bailout package.
In tackling them, he faced deep suspicions from the public, and from political opponents and allies alike, that he had fallen back on traditions of negotiating back-room deals with Ukraine’s post-Soviet business elite, the oligarchs.
“He couldn’t abandon the former practice of consulting the oligarchs before making decisions,” Yuri V. Lutsenko, the head of the president’s faction in Parliament, said in a telephone interview on Sunday.
As for who will replace Yatsenyuk, the most likely candidate as the next Prime Minister is Volodymyr Hroysman, chairman of the Ukrainian parliament. Most importantly, he is an unassuming ally of Ukrainian President Poroshenko. This will easily solve any conflict that may have arisen when Yatsenyuk was Prime Minister, as both President and Prime Minister will be allied together, making a stronger executive branch.
However, only 38 years old, some worry that Hroysman may be too much of a fresh face to become Prime Minister, having only been appointed the chairman of the Rada in November 2014. Prior, he was the mayor of Vinnytsia, a town of 300,000 people, from 2006 to 2014. Not exactly a long time to prepare for such a role in a struggling country.