Disputes over top jobs in Ukraine's next government have delayed a parliamentary vote on a cabinet reshuffle that is likely to see the departure of Finance Minister Natalia Jaresko and tighten President Petro Poroshenko's grip on key policy areas.
A new coalition deal is needed to end a political deadlock that has stalled billions of dollars in foreign loans under a program of the International Monetary Fund.
Legislators on April 12 were in the final stages of reaching a new coalition deal following Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s announcement on April 10 that he would resign.
A close ally of Poroshenko, parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Hroysman, has been nominated to replace Yatsenyuk.
But Oleksiy Honcharenko, a deputy in Poroshenko's parliamentary faction, told journalists late on April 12 that the coalition talks in Kyiv had ended for the day without an agreement on who would become the ministers of economy, energy, culture, and health.
Honcharenko said he hopes that a vote on the coalition and government would take place in parliament on April 13 or April 14.
Yatsenyuk, who survived a no-confidence vote by parliament in February, has been blamed in part for the country's slow pace of reform.
Hroysman was nominated by the president’s Petro Poroshenko Bloc (BPP) and has the backing of Yatsenyuk’s party, the People’s Front.
However, Hroysman reportedly has raised objections to some of the candidates for ministerial posts that have been proposed by the People’s Front party.
Earlier on April 12, the deputy speaker of parliament Andriy Parubiy said four independent deputies had joined Poroshenko’s BPP faction.
That would mean BPP and the People’s Front party have enough members to form a coalition with a small majority.
Some key posts appear to have been agreed upon in the April 12 coalition talks in Kyiv.
Oleksandr Danylyuk, a 40-year-old former investment manager and deputy head of Poroshenko’s administration, has been mentioned as the likely new finance manager.
He would replace U.S.-born Jaresko who has been praised for her handling of the country’s finances amid an economic meltdown and the conflict with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
But analysts say Danylyuk’s nomination could raise concerns among reformists that the reshuffle under Hroysman will consolidate too much power in the hands of Poroshenko and his closest political allies.
People's Front lawmaker Viktoria Syumar said on April 12 that the current arrangement between Yatsenyuk’s party and the BPP “could fall apart” by April 14 if an agreement isn’t reached quickly.
Syumar said that scenario would be “a quick road to snap elections.”
Early parliamentary elections also would further delay stalled reforms under the $17.5 billion IMF program.
With on reporting by Reuters and AFP