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Ukraine’s Zelenskiy signals possible gov’t reshuffle as trust declines

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, on Wednesday signaled a potential government reshuffle, which local media said could include axing Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk in favour of businessman and veteran politician Serhiy Tihipko.


Confidence in Zelenskiy’s government has slid since the actor and comedian scored a surprise landslide election victory in 2019 promising to root out corruption and end the war with Russian-backed rebels in the eastern Donbass region.

However, progress on either front has been patchy, and the 42-year-old Zelenskiy remains Ukraine’s most electable politician.

According to a survey by the Kiev-based Razumkov Centre think-tank, Zelenskiy public trust score has fallen from a high watermark of 79 per cent in September to 51 per cent in February.

Honcharuk’s position had already come into the spotlight in January after the leak of an embarrassing audio recording that suggested he had criticised the president in a closed meeting with the finance minister and central bank.

Any reshuffle would come just as Ukraine is trying to secure the release of billions of dollars in loans from the International Monetary Fund, a move contingent on Kiev’s progress in passing reforms and tackling graft.

A source familiar with the situation said work in the prime minister’s office was carrying on as normal, adding that over the last three months there had been constant efforts to remove Honcharuk.

Tihipko, 60, has been deputy prime minister twice, first under President Leonid Kuchma in a short-lived 1997 government, and then in 2010 under President Viktor Yanukovich, who eventually fled to Russia after the 2014 Maidan street protests.

He has also been central bank governor and co-founded PrivatBank, the former Soviet republic’s largest lender.

Zelenskiy has prioritised ending the war in Donbass but while he has implemented some confidence-building measures with Russia, including prisoner swaps, the conflict simmers on.

According to Razumkov survey in October, 48.2 per cent of Ukrainians rated those in power as better than their predecessors, but that figure declined to 29.5 per cent in February.

HLM/

Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed



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Olawale Olukoga: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

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