Ukraine’s parliament confirms PM’s resignation

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Ukrainian lawmakers on Wednesday approved the resignation of Prime Minister Oleksiy Goncharuk only six months into the job, caught out by a leaked recording of him criticising the president.

He will be replaced by one of his deputies.

Goncharuk had offered to resign on Tuesday, in a second attempt to quit after a leaked recording emerged in January of him questioning President Volodymyr Zelensky’s grasp of economics.

Zelensky denounced Goncharuk’s government’s performance on economic issues, saying that it made some achievements but not enough.

“We need new brains, new hearts,” Zelensky told parliament minutes before the vast majority of lawmakers voted to fire accept Goncharuk’s resignation at an extraordinary meeting.

It is expected that current Deputy Prime Minister Denys Shmygal will be nominated as Goncharuk’s replacement later Wednesday, with some key ministers also getting shuffled.

Goncharuk became Ukraine’s youngest-ever prime minister after Zelensky nominated him in August. He faced an economy that is stalled and a country still locked in a conflict with separatists in the east.

His appointment, quickly approved as Zelensky’s “Servant of the People” party holds a parliamentary majority, was in line with Zelensky’s vow to bring in fresh faces and shake up Ukraine’s stagnant politics.

Comedian-turned-politician Zelensky came to power last April promising to “break the system” that had ruled Ukraine since independence in 1991.

Among his campaign promises were ending the conflict in the east, fighting corruption and launching economic reforms in one of Europe’s poorest countries.

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