Prime Minister of Ukraine offers to resign

Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleksi Hontcharouk in the Kiev Parliament on January 17, 2020.
Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleksi Hontcharouk in the Kiev Parliament on January 17, 2020. SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP

In a coup that surprised the head of state himself, the young Ukrainian prime minister, Oleksi Hontcharouk, 35, presented his resignation to President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday January 17. The announcement comes days after the tape recording of a conversation held on December 16, 2019 between Oleksi Hontcharouk and a handful of ministers and representatives of the National Bank of Ukraine was uncovered. During this exchange, we hear the Prime Minister talking about the Head of State "Who doesn't understand how the economy works". The affair sparked controversy across the country, portraying the prime minister as a man who disrespected the president.

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"Many influence groups, which try to take advantage of financial flows, benefit from such a presentation of things. But this is not true, Hontcharouk said in a Facebook post that he was trapped by schemers who had everything to do with tarnishing his relationship with Mr. Zelensky. "I came here to carry out the President's program. He is a model of openness and honesty for me. I wrote this letter to dispel doubts about the respect and trust I have in the president. "

The tone of this message, accompanying the letter placed on the President's desk, suggests that the letter of resignation is not one. That Mr. Hontcharouk actually seeks to confirm the support that Mr. Zelensky gives him. But the gamble is risky, observes political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko. "Zelensky doesn't like being blackmailed. Mr. Hontcharouk could repeat the error of Olexandr Danyliouk ", He says.

Unlikely departure

At the end of September 2019, just a few months after taking office, Olexandr Danyliouk had resigned from the post of secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. The former finance minister of Petro Poroshenko, a highly respected figure in Kiev, was in conflict with the new team in place, annoyed that he could not carry out the required reforms and wanted to gain the manifest confidence of Mr. Zelensky. In vain, his resignation was endorsed by the head of state.

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According to sources close to the presidency, although the remarks of Mr. Hontcharouk are not very kind to Volodymyr Zelensky, it is unlikely that the resignation of the Prime Minister will be effective. His departure would cause a stir that the Ukrainian presidency sought to avoid. Mr. Hontcharouk is said to be appreciated by the teams of the International Monetary Fund which has just released crucial aid for the country.


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