Ukraine PM denies resigning but says reshuffle planned

2020-03-02 19:45
Oleksiy Goncharuk (File: AFP)

Oleksiy Goncharuk (File: AFP)

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Ukraine's youngest-ever prime minister on Monday denied he had offered his resignation, as the government braces for potential dismissals over the ailing economy.

Oleksiy Goncharuk, 35, made this clarification at a press conference in Kiev, as talk swirled of his potential resignation.

The rumours surfaced last week with sources in the presidency and government telling AFP that President Volodymyr Zelensky planned to replace Goncharuk over his poor performance running the economy.

This is the second time in two months that the prime minister has faced public scrutiny over his future role in Ukrainian politics.

A lawyer by trade, Zelensky boasts almost no prior political experience, tendered his resignation last month after recordings surfaced of him criticising the Ukrainian president's "very primitive" grasp of economics.

A second chance

Zelensky rebuffed the offer on the same day, saying he wanted to give Goncharuk "a second chance".

On Monday, Goncharuk addressed criticism of his economic record, saying: "Obviously, we will have consultations with the president and parliament on this issue."

He added weight to reports of an upcoming cull of ministers that he said would strengthen his government.

"I've already stated that we are thinking about a serious strengthening of the government," he said, without elaborating on which ministers might be axed or when.

READ | Ukraine's Zelensky 'breaks record' for world's longest press conference

Goncharuk was nominated for the post by Zelensky in August against the backdrop of a struggling economy and a protracted war with Russian-backed separatists in the east.

His candidacy was quickly approved by MPs in Zelensky's majority "Servant of the People" party.

Read more on:    ukraine
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