Ukraine’s Yatseniuk Survives Confidence Vote

The prime minister wins a confidence vote but leaves Ukraine’s ruling coalition divided.

President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine listens as his prime minister, Arseniy Yatseniuk, makes a speech in parliament in Kiev, December 2, 2014
President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine listens as his prime minister, Arseniy Yatseniuk, makes a speech in parliament in Kiev, December 2, 2014 (Press Service of the President of Ukraine/Palinchak Michael)

Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatseniuk survived a confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday despite being urged by President Petro Poroshenko to step down.

Many opposition lawmakers walked out before the vote took place, leaving Yatseniuk hanging by a thread. A majority of the ruling coalition voted against their own prime minister.

Without the support of all ruling parties, including the members of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s party, and an approval rating nearly at zero, Yatseniuk will be hard pressed to carry out the economic reforms on which Ukraine’s international aid money is conditioned.

Fractured coalition

The confidence vote came only weeks after the resignation of Aivaras Abromavičius as economy minister. On his way out, the Lithuanian-born former investment banker accused supporters of both Poroshenko and Yatseniuk of meddling in the running of state-owned enterprises and attempting to block anti-corruption efforts.

As we reported earlier this week, Ukraine’s coalition has consisted of reformers and members of an old guard who are united by a belief that the country’s future lies in Europe, not as an appendage of Russia.

The country was able to make progress after the 2014 revolution that ousted the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich and his cronies because modernizers did not insist on uprooting the entire political system.

It seems that informal nonaggression pact is breaking down.