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Ukrainian Lawmakers Approve New Chief Of National Bank

Yakiv Smoliy

KYIV -- Ukraine's parliament has approved Yakiv Smoliy as the new chief of the National Bank.

After lawmakers approved his nomination on March 15, Smoliy vowed to continue reforms.

"Our goal remains the same. First, to preserve financial stability. Second, to support economic development and integration of Ukraine's financial system into the European one," Smoliy told lawmakers.

President Petro Poroshenko nominated Smoliy to run the bank in January, ending months of uncertainty over the highly politicized position.

Poroshenko's delay in putting forward a candidate following the resignation of former governor Valeria Hontareva last May caused concern among Ukraine's backers, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Hontareva's efforts to clean up Ukraine's financial sector irked wealthy oligarchs who critics say have treated the country's banks like their private coffers.

Hontareva also came under fire from some ordinary Ukrainians who blamed her for losses they suffered after she was appointed to follow the IMF advice to partially abandon state support for the hryvnya currency.

With reporting by Reuters