On Friday, January 17, 2020, Ukraine’s prime minister (PM) Oleksiy Honcharuk offered his resignation letter. His resignation was related to a charge that a tape recording which he claimed to be doctored and impersonated of his voice saying that the PM criticized the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Nevertheless, as reported by Reuters, the letter has been accepted by the office of the president but it is likely that his resignation offer might be rejected.
A Tape Recording Accusing President
An audio recording in which a man talked about the lack of knowledge of the president in the country’s administration and the economy was circulated on social media channels this week. Media critics attacked the PM alleging that the voice in the tape was himself which was apparently recorded during a meeting of the PM, Finance minister, and the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) in December 2019. With the development of such critics, Honcharuk submitted his resignation letter on Friday and the president Zelenskiy would examine it.
Referring to the recording as a fabricated piece, Honcharuk wrote on social media, “Its contents artificially create the impression that my team and I do not respect the president, who is our political leader.” However, he has not mentioned whether it was his voice in the recording. Reuters reported that the finance minister and central bank officials have declined to comment on the matter.
According to the report, Honcharuk was appointed by parliament in August 2019 after Zelenskiy’s party won a majority and the relationship between the two leaders seemed fine. Asking about his decision of today’s announcement, Honcharuk replied to Reuters saying, “Do not jump to conclusions.” Nevertheless, he declined to comment on the question if that was a test for the president’s confidence.
No Change in the Existing Government’s Economic Programs
Honcharuk has brought several reforms agendas especially the economic reforms for the country after taking the charge of PM office. During his short period in the office, he chalked out economic plans and secured provisional agreement from the International Monetary Funds (IMF) for a three years loans in a view to ensuring the country’s economic stability.
Honcharuk’s government had received a $5.5 billion IMF loan program in December 2019 under the conditions of Ukraine’s polices on economic reforms. Honcharuk responded to a question saying that his resignation would not affect the IMF loan agreement.
Many analysts commented that it would be unlikely that the president would accept the PM’s resignation letter. When he shared his resignation announcement on social media, Honcharuk also praised Zelenskiy as “a model of openness and decency”. He explained the reason was, “in order to remove any doubts about our respect and trust in the President, I wrote a letter of resignation and handed it to the President with the right to submit it to Parliament.”
Honcharuk appealed to the country’s leaders in parliament later on Friday to remain united at the time of this attack and reaffirmed this respect for the president. Tim Ash of BlueBay Asset Management commented about the letter of resignation, “Seems likely Zelenskiy will reject it.” Ash wrote on Twitter, “Question is if Zelenskiy accepts it, would any credible reformer opt to sit in Honcharuk’s place when the said government session with the NBU was leaked, and Honcharuk was only being honest.”
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