Ukraine PM resignation rejected after recording mishap
But Zelenskiy said this was dependant on Honcharuk’s ability to tackle a number of urgent issues.
Honcharuk, 35, can be heard suggesting President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, 41, did not understand economics, with only a “primitive” grasp of the subject.
The president asked the security services to determine who was involved in making the recording and how to prevent a reoccurrence of similar incidents.
Zelenskiy called the news of the audio recording “very unpleasant” but had decided to “give a chance” to Honcharuk.
The comedian turned politician, who campaigned on being an outsider rather than an economics expert, said it was not the time for a political crisis. Zelenskiy said he was taking into account that the public had “great trust” in the prime minister and his cabinet when the government was formed.
Honcharuk was appointed by parliament last August after Zelenskiy’s party won a majority.
Zelenskiy won a landslide in the presidential election last April, promising to tackle corruption and improve living standards in one of Europe’s poorest countries.
Since taking office, Honcharuk has pushed ahead with reforms and secured provisional agreement from the IMF for a three-year-loan seen as central to maintaining investor confidence and fiscal stability.
Honcharuk secured a US$5.5-billion IMF loan programme last month but it is conditional on Ukraine’s performance on reforms and addressing vested interests.
The recording is apparently from a meeting last month between Honcharuk, his finance minister and chiefs from the central bank, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU).
The prime minister also appears to admit that he himself is not good at economics.
Honcharuk said the recording had been edited but did not dispute that it was his voice that could be heard.
He said it was made up of different fragments of what had been said at government meetings.
Honcharuk told parliament yesterday (Friday) that he respected the president and that Ukrainians must remain united in the face of information attacks and foreign manipulation.
He was given a standing ovation by some MPs will others shouting “shame on you”.
The NBU and finance minister have declined to comment.
Before entering politics, Honcharuk ran an NGO focused on economic reform and worked as an adviser to the ecology ministry.
Honcharuk, in his Facebook resignation statement, said: “Its contents artificially create the impression that my team and I do not respect the president, who is our political leader. It is not true.”
He praised Zelenskiy as “a model of openness and decency”, adding that he was looking to resign to “remove any doubts about our respect and trust in the president”.
The loose-tongued Oleksiy Honcharuk. Picture credit: Wikimedia