Ukraine set for new government after coalition backs Groysman for PM

Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Groysman attends a parliament session in Kiev, Ukraine, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

KIEV (Reuters) - A coalition of Ukraine’s two largest parties has agreed to back Volodymyr Groysman for prime minister and reshuffle the cabinet, lawmakers said on Wednesday, paving the way for the biggest shake-up since a 2014 uprising brought in a pro-Western leadership.

Months of coalition infighting came to a head this week, after the resignation of Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk forced a government reboot that will likely see the departure of Western-backed reformists and tighten President Petro Poroshenko’s grip on key policy areas.

“The coalition has put forward Groysman as a candidate for prime minister and is making the corresponding proposal to the president,” the deputy head of Poroshenko’s BPP faction, Oleksiy Honcharenko, said in a post on Twitter.

The nomination could spell the end of political deadlock that has stalled efforts to root out corruption, delaying the disbursement of $5.4 billion in foreign loans from the International Monetary Fund and others.

Poroshenko is expected to propose the nomination of Groysman, a close ally, to parliament on Thursday. The coalition is believed to have just enough votes to install him as prime minister and usher in a new government.

“The coalition has showed that it is capable of reaching constructive agreements and taking decisions. I hope that tomorrow we can prove this also with the vote,” Viktoria Syumar, a lawmaker in the People’s Front party told journalists.

The new cabinet is not expected to include any of the foreign technocrats brought in late in 2014, including Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko, who is set to be replaced by Poroshenko ally Oleksandr Danylyuk.

Poroshenko and Groysman have publicly supported the IMF economic reform program and vowed to fight graft. But the slow pace of reform of the president-appointed prosecutor’s office have prompted some to question Poroshenko’s will to change the status quo.

Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; editing by Ralph Boulton