On Wednesday, March 4, the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian Parliament) held a special session convened on the demand of the President. Parliament has dismissed the Honcharuk Cabinet that has worked only for the past six months. Denys Shmyhal has been elected the new Prime Minister. Shmyhal served as Vice Prime Minister in the Honcharuk Government. Before that, he had briefly headed the administration of one of the West Ukrainian regions. As many as 291 deputies voted for his candidacy.
Parliament also supported the new Cabinet with Denys Shmyhal at the head. Two hundred and seventy-seven lawmakers voted for this decision.
Only four ministers from the previous Government have retained their positions. They are Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, Minister of the Interior Arsen Avakov, Infrastructure Minister Vladyslav Kryklyi and Minister of Justice Denys Malyuska.
Former Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko has become Vice Prime Minister in charge of issues of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Dmytro Kuleba, his predecessor in this position, has been appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Defense Minister Andriy Zahorodnyuk has been replaced by Retired General Andriy Taran.
Despite the election of the new Prime Minister and the new Cabinet, the political course of Ukraine remains unchanged. This statement was made by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The President stressed that peace in Donbas and the return of the occupied Ukrainian territories would remain the first priorities for the bodies of State power.
Zelenskyy emphasized that reforms would continue in all spheres of the country’s economy. “And although some mistakes have been made while transformations have been implemented, the overall course of Ukraine is correct”, the President stressed.
In commenting on changes in the composition of the Cabinet, Ukrainian political analysts say that nominally Ukraine is a parliamentary-presidential republic in which the influence of the President on domestic policies and the economy is strongly limited.
In reality, Zelenskyy is the major element of the entire political system and it’s been his political will that made it possible for obscure lawyer Honcharuk to become Premier after the snap parliamentary election that took place last summer.
Already from the very start of activities of the Honcharuk Cabinet, the youngest government in the history of Ukraine, some political observers voiced their doubts as to the professional competence of a number of his ministers. It was then that the President promised that the Honcharuk Cabinet would be strengthened with new cadres.
But the continuous economic decline and major setbacks in the work of the power that have entailed a dramatic drop in the popularity rating of both the Honcharuk Government and Volodymyr Zelenskyy as President have forced the latter to initiate the full reshuffling of the Cabinet. Anyway, the recent public opinion polls show that the President and his party “Servants of the People” despite still being the leaders of their electors’ preferences have been rapidly losing their support since the beginning of this year.
In the opinion of political analyst Maksym Dzhyhun, the current changes in the Cabinet are aimed at neutralizing the negative effect of the Honcharuk Government on the bodies of State power as a whole and President Zelenskyy personally.
In such a way, a message is being sent to the society that the power is still learning, that the power can see its mistakes and is able to correct them, and that the power is getting renewed.
As for the new faces in the Cabinet, nothing definite can be said about them yet, the analyst claim. Some of them are little known to the public. Others have been engaged earlier in government activities holding different positions. But even if they did well then, there is a certain disagreement with the previous plans of the President who has offered the idea of a total renewal of the system of government bodies for the accomplishment of which he has brought people who have never been involved in politics.
Most of Ukrainian analysts believe that the resignation of the Honcharuk Cabinet has become a forced step. Zelenskyy has finally come to understanding that it is not enough to have theoretical knowledge only. One has to have practical skills and a great deal of experience to manage such a complex organism as the country’s economy. As for Ukrainian electors, they have been demonstrated that there will be no dilettantes any more in power only experienced cadres. Well, one has to learn on his own mistakes.
In the photo: Denys Shmyhal
The newspaper Holos Ukrainy