Published: Tue, May 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Ukrainian PM resigns after new leader Zelensky sworn in

Ukrainian PM resigns after new leader Zelensky sworn in

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy exits the parliament after his swearing in as Ukraine's sixth president since its independence in 1991, on May 20, 2019 in Kiev, Ukraine.

Emboldened by his stunning victory last month, Ukrainian TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy moved swiftly on Monday to dissolve the country's parliament, moments after he was sworn in as the country's new president.

Zelenskiy garnered 73% of the vote at the presidential election last month in a victory that reflected Ukrainians' exhaustion with politics-as-usual. "Do it and you will deserve medals", Zelenskiy said. He also wants military purchases to become transparent.

Analysts say that assembling the right team will be crucial for the neophyte president.

Uniquely for a first-time president, Zelensky had played the inauguration scene before - for laughs.

With graft a hot-button issue for voters and Ukraine's Western donors, Zelenskiy, 41, urged lawmakers to pass bills clamping down on illicit wealth and ending officials' immunity from prosecution.

"You will have two months for this", he said, alluding to the fact that new parliamentary elections will be held in July.

Zelenskiy's surprise move is certainly controversial and follows repeated attempts by the majority in the current parliament to stymie his campaign promise for a snap election.

Amelie de Montchalin, France's European Affairs minister, said Paris will "support and carefully watch" the reforms announced by Mr Zelensky.

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Mr. Zelenskiy also told the Rada that the main goal for the presidency is to bring peace to eastern Ukraine, where government troops have been fighting Russia-backed separatists for five years in a conflict that has left at least 13,000 dead.

Russian Federation argued that the language law was in violation of the so-called Minsk agreements, signed in 2014 to end the conflict in east Ukraine.

"The government resigns before the newly elected Verkhovna Rada, not before the newly elected president", said Groysman, who has been prime minister since April 2016, to underscore that he did not have to resign but chose to.

The official inauguration ceremony took place in the Ukrainian parliament, local media reported. Four hundred fifty snouts who eat greedily but are never full, while we cannot buy proper food for ourselves, cannot get proper clothing, cannot afford proper housing. Or it could be viewed as a despairing rejection of a political class that is seen as irredeemably corrupt.

'Crimea and Donbass are Ukrainian land, ' Zelensky said, adding that Ukraine had lost not just territory but the hearts and minds of people living there, who 'are not strangers, they are ours, Ukrainians'.

The separatist authorities have indicated that they could be ready to negotiate with Zelensky. 'In my life, I've tried to do all I could to make Ukrainians smile, ' he said.

The 41-year-old comedian said his first task is to end the conflict with Moscow-backed separatists in the country's east, but added that dialogue with Russian Federation could only happen after the return of Ukrainian territory and prisoners of war.

Zelensky won the presidency by appealing to voters fed up with entrenched corruption and low living standards in a country that remains one of Europe's poorest almost three decades after it secured independence from the Soviet Union.

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