The Freeland File
Aerospace & Defense
Global Market Data
Lucy P. Marcus
The Great Debate
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Our best photos from the last 24 hours. Slideshow
Best photos of the year 2012
Download our Wider Image iPad app
Snow traps drivers for days in giant Russia traffic jam
02 Dec 2012
Suicide bombers attack U.S. base in Afghanistan
02 Dec 2012
Israel faces European backlash over settlement plan
Four shot dead in "nice" California suburb - police
Russia, China urge North Korea to drop rocket launch plan
Obama promotes tax agenda, U.S. Congress in stand-off
Obama’s opening ”fiscal cliff” bid seeks debt limit hike, stimulus
Senators won’t support Rice until Libya questions resolved
Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography. See more | Photo caption
Surrealism of Sandy
The altered landscape in the aftermath of Sandy. Slideshow
Photos of the week
Our top photos from the past week. Slideshow
Ukraine cabinet quits, prime minister's future uncertain
Mursi decree that sparked crisis catches aides off guard
Wed, Nov 28 2012
Egyptians challenge Mursi in nationwide protests
Tue, Nov 27 2012
Egypt's Islamists seek to defuse crisis over decree
Mon, Nov 26 2012
Lawmakers order partial re-run in Ukraine vote
Tue, Nov 6 2012
UPDATE 2-Opposition urges Ukraine vote recounts as crowds rally
Mon, Nov 5 2012
Analysis & Opinion
Nepal president sets deadline for new prime minister
1 of 3. Then Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov (R, front) talks on the phone after he was appointed as prime minister in Kiev in this March 11, 2010 file photo.
Credit: Reuters/Konstantin Chernichkin/Files
By Olzhas Auyezov
Mon Dec 3, 2012 10:47am EST
KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov's government on Monday, without indicating whether he would re-appoint the long-time ally ahead of tough IMF loan talks.
The move had been expected after several cabinet members including Azarov were elected to parliament on October 28, something which obliges them to give up their ministerial roles.
Yanukovich told Azarov's government to stay on in an interim capacity, according to a decree published on the presidential website, and some commentators said he may keep the same team.
The 64-year-old Azarov has spent two and a half years trying to revive the debt-ridden economy, but economic growth rates have slowed this year as demand has shrunk for Ukraine's main exports such as steel.
The pragmatic, dour Azarov has resisted IMF pressure to carry out reforms such as raising the price of gas for households, an unpopular move that would have rebounded on the ruling Party of the Regions in the October election.
Yet he is seen by some as a safe pair of hands and many commentators believe Yanukovich, who brought him in as prime minister when he himself was elected in February 2010, might not want to take a chance to appoint a new face just now.
"Yanukovich will not take risks and complicate things at a time when the world economy is in crisis," said political analyst Taras Berezovets.
Yanukovich's Regions party fell short of its own expectations in the October vote, but still looks likely to be able to pull together a majority in the next parliament, which convenes for its first session on December 12.
Central bank chief Serhiy Arbuzov, with whom Yanukovich is personally close, has been mooted for some time as a possible successor to Azarov.
SAFE PAIR OF HANDS
Azarov had indicated previously that he wanted to stay. However, in a statement on Monday, he said he had held his "last government meeting as prime minister". His spokesman said those comments did not mean he was definitely leaving.
"Conclusions (that Azarov is not coming back for sure) are incorrect," Azarov's spokesman Vitaly Lukyanenko told Reuters.
As acting prime minister, Azarov is still expected to lead talks on a fresh lending agreement with an International Monetary Fund mission due to arrive in Kiev on December 7.
Whether or not he will keep his post thereafter will only become certain when the new parliament meets on December 12. Any cabinet nominations by Yanukovich are widely expected to be endorsed by parliament, given that the Regions believe they are close to nailing down a majority.
If Arbuzov, who unlike Azarov has made no populist pledges ahead of the October election - such as promising not to raise gas prices - took over the talks with the IMF, it might be an early indication of a planned reshuffle.
"We believe that the formation of the new cabinet (if led by Arbuzov) may accelerate negotiations and ease the agreement with the IMF," BNP Paribas analyst Julia Tsepliaeva said.
Ukraine says it hopes to use fresh IMF loans to repay $6.4 billion of its debt to the Fund falling due next year. The IMF, in turn, insists that Kiev needs to raise gas and heating prices for households to cut the growing budget deficit.
In addition to the IMF talks, Azarov has been at the forefront of tough - and so far unsuccessful - negotiations with Russia, Ukraine's main energy provider, to try to bring down the cost of imported natural gas, which the government says is way above market prices and a huge drain on the economy.
(Additional reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov and Richard Balmforth)
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Be the first to comment on reuters.com.
Add yours using the box above.
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.