People on the move: New officials of Zelensky's team

Author : Yaroslav Konoshchuk

Source : 112 Ukraine

The first appointments will be announced after the inauguration of Volodymyr Zelensky
09:30, 14 May 2019


The first appointments will be announced after the inauguration of Volodymyr Zelensky. We will tell you about the applicants for positions of ministers and the head of Presidential Administration.

Groysman remains in the same office?

Most likely, the main chair of Ukraine’s Cabinet would remain the same before the parliamentary elections. According to our sources in Zelensky’s team, acting Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman would remain at his post until the autumn. Groysman has already publicly admitted that he is not in a hurry to resign.


Related: Ze! Team: Meet architects of presidential hopeful Zelensky's 2019 insurgent race

“I do not understand the basis of the question of the resignation of the government. The election of the president is not the basis for the resignation of the government,” the head of government noted.

But the wave of resignations might hit his subordinates. According to our sources in the coalition factions, there are negotiations on replacing five ministers, appointed by the quota of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction. According to our interlocutors, Deputy Prime Minister Hennadiy Zubko, First Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv, Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan might lose their cabinets. In addition, according to our interlocutors, Minister for Veterans Affairs Iryna Friz, Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Ihor Nasalyk are also under threat of dismissal. “The parliament is preparing the ground for personnel changes in the government,” our interlocutors say.

According to sources in the team of the newly elected president, "results grid is regularly changing." The interlocutors add that Volodymyr Schulmeister, the former first deputy head of department, could become a new infrastructure minister.

But it is quite possible there would be no changes in the foreign policy part of the government. According to our sources in Zelensky’s team, current Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin might keep his post "with a probability of 60%." The minister himself said he would offer his own resignation to the newly elected President of Ukraine.


Related: Military and defense plans of the ‘Zelensky team’: Old wine in new bottles?

Law enforcers’ shuffle

The power vertical seems to be waiting for at least a partial update. There are some negotiations between Zelensky’s team and current First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Serhiy Kryvonos for the post of Minister of Defense. Earlier, the winner of the presidential election publicly admitted that he had already invited Kryvynos to join his team, but he decided to play in favor of Petro Poroshenko. It is possible that the current head of department Stepan Poltorak will remain in office. In a comment to journalists, the head of the defense department said he was ready to meet with the newly elected President of Ukraine.

A new or "new old" person might head the Security Service (SBU). According to sources at Zelensky’s headquarters, former presidential candidate and former SBU head Ihor Smeshko could return to his office. Officially, such proposals were denied by his representatives.

Related: Ukraine's presidential election: Surprise results of ex-head of state security service Smeshko

There might be also changes at the Prosecutor General's Office. At a briefing after the announcement of the exit poll results, Volodymyr Zelensky announced Prosecutor General would be changed. Moreover, Yuriy Lutsenko himself has repeatedly stated his intention to return to public politics and take part in parliamentary elections. And although in early May, the Prosecutor General stated that he did not see "legal and moral grounds for resignation,” changes in the Prosecutor General's Office are only a matter of time.  Prosecutor Kostyantyn Kulik, who became widely known for his criminal case against Poroshenko’s entourage, as well as former Deputy Prosecutor General Vitaly Kasko, another ex-deputy David Sakvarelidze are among the contenders for the post of head of the Prosecutor General’s Office. Serhiy Gorbatyuk, the head of the special investigations department of the Prosecutor General’s Office, has publicly declared his ambitions to head the body.


Related: Nowhere man: Ukraine's Prosecutor General Lutsenko wants to join Zelensky's team

According to our sources in Ze!Team, Arsen Avakov will continue to be the main “policeman” of Ukraine. The interlocutors point out this was one of the conditions for cooperation between the minister and Zelensky’s team. And one of the speakers close to Zelensky, his business partner Serhiy Shefir, said that Ukraine’s MIA head is “the most effective minister” in the current Cabinet.

On the sidelines of the parliament, there are rumors that Avakov might become a new parliamentary speaker, and a part of the American political elites have nothing against this idea. Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoysky, often associated with Zelensky, did not rule out that Arsen Avakov would preserve a place in his current office.

Zelensky claimed he wanted to move the presidential office from Bankova Street.

"We do not want to be in this administration. The place should be open, we want to reduce the presidential administration," he said. The intrigue about the appointment of the head of the Presidential Administration is still unveiled. Business partner and Zelensky’s old friend Serhiy Shefir, as well as Andriy Bogdan, lawyer of Ihor Kolomoysky, are among the applicants for this position are.

Officially, Zelensky’s team does not voice the name of the new head of the presidential office, noting that "all personnel issues will be resolved after the inauguration."

Related: Who would join Zelensky's parliamentary team this autumn?

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