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Ukraine's Parliament Passes Vote Of No Confidence In Prosecutor Amid Government Reshuffle

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Ruslan Ryaboshapka has been in the position of prosecutor-general since August 2019.

KYIV -- The Ukrainian parliament has passed a no-confidence vote in Prosecutor-General Ruslan Ryaboshapka, the latest move in a reshuffle that saw the prime minister and most of his government ousted.

At an extraordinary session on March 5, 263 members of the Verkhovna Rada backed the no-confidence resolution against Ryaboshapka, who had been holding the position of prosecutor-general since August last year.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's Servant of the People party has proposed one of their lawmakers, Serhiy Ionushas, as Ryaboshapka's replacement.

The vote in parliament comes a day after lawmakers accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, who had been in office for six months, and backed Zelenskiy's choice for his successor, Deputy Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

Parliament approved other cabinet members, including a new foreign, defense, and finance ministers.

Addressing lawmakers before the March 4 votes, Zelenskiy said Ukraine needs "new brains and new hearts in the government.”

And Shmyhal wrote in a Facebook post late on March 5 that "changing the government means that we want even better and faster reforms in Ukraine."

The new cabinet will continue “prudent fiscal policy and constructive cooperation with the International Monetary Fund [IMF] and other creditors of Ukraine," he added.

The government reshuffle has put the country’s commitment to reforms into question at a time when Kyiv is seeking to finalize a long-delayed $5.5 billion loan program with the IMF, seen as crucial to economic stability and investor confidence.

In a statement sent to RFE/RL on March 5, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department urged the new Ukrainian government to “demonstrate its continued commitment to reform by moving forward with the critical steps necessary to further the country’s development, including strengthening the rule of law and combatting corruption.”

"The strongest signal Ukraine can send that it remains committed to its reform trajectory is to secure a new IMF program."

A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said “good progress was achieved” under Honcharuk’s government “in the pursuit of a broad and ambitious reform agenda.”

“We expect the new government to demonstrate a similar degree of determination to pursue these reforms, including as regards the fight against corruption and vested interests and in important sectors, including the financial sector,” the statement said, adding that the rule of law “remains the cornerstone of economic stability and investments.”

Zelenskiy won a landslide victory in the April 2019 presidential election on promises to end endemic corruption, attract foreign investment, and end the war in the east with Russian-backed separatists.

Three months later, the Servant of the People party swept national elections, giving him unprecedented power to push through major economic reforms that had been stalled by oligarchs for decades.

However, public trust in Zelenskiy has slid from nearly 80 percent in September to around 50 percent last month, polling figures from the Kyiv-based Razumkov Center show.

With reporting by Reuters
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