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Ukrainian president asks cabinet, top prosecutor to go - full text

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has suggested that the Cabinet of Ministers should undergo complete reformatting and Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin should resign. The following is the full text of his address to the nation on 16 February.

Ukrainian president asks cabinet, top prosecutor to go - full text
Photo: Max Trebukhov

Fellow Ukrainians!

In two years since the victory of the Revolution of Dignity, our country has made significant and resolute steps towards European integration.

We started a series of extremely important and difficult reforms.

And people demand more.

Obviously, both society and the authorities are discontent with the pace of reforms.

We must accelerate positive transformations and find a second wind in the implementation of reforms.

Clearly, since the beginning of the year we have slowed down.

The Government has lost the support of the coalition. Even in order to push strategic decisions through the Parliament, one often has to borrow votes from independent MPs and groups out of the coalition.

The tension between the Government and the factions has become so high that it poses a threat to the coalition’s functioning. At the same time, its breakup will inevitably plunge the country into a deep and long-standing political crisis.

Yes, the Government, just like the entire authorities, both central and local, work in extremely difficult conditions.

There are ongoing hostilities, destruction of a significant part of our industrial infrastructure.

There has been an aggressive market closure for our producers by Russia and blocking of our trade transit to the third countries by Moscow. Global prices for our key export items have fallen.

The objective result of such a coincidence of circumstances is multiplied by subjective mistakes.

Thus, there is a decline in the living standards of Ukrainians and the people's confidence in the authorities.

According to opinion polls, over 70% of voters stand for the resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers. We should admit that it is an indicator that cannot be ignored.

The Constitution does not give the President the right to directly regulate the relations between the coalition and the Government, let alone to resolve staffing matters. But as guarantor of the Constitution, as a man who claimed responsibility for the reform strategy, I cannot watch this situation indifferently.

While two buildings on Hrushevskoho Street shift responsibility to each other’s shoulders, the entire country stands still.

We are wasting precious days, weeks and months. And this is despite the pressing fact we have lagged behind our more successful neighbors for decades!

Exiting this stalemate requires political will of the President and common responsibility of the Head of State, the Parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers.

This morning I had a meeting and a thorough discussion with the Prosecutor General. I suggested that Viktor Mykolayovych write a letter of resignation.

Viktor Shokin has implemented reforms that had been resisted by the Prosecutor General’s Office for decades: deprivation of general supervision from the prosecution, establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and the State Bureau of Investigation etc. This is on the one hand.

On the other hand, the Prosecutor General’s Office has unfortunately failed to gain the trust of society. That is why the resignation of the Prosecutor General is on the agenda.

With the same criteria we should evaluate the Government. The Cabinet of Ministers has made a fair bit of efforts to save the country, stabilize the economic situation and launch reforms. However, society has clearly decided that the number of mistakes exceeds the number of achievements and is losing faith.

And isn’t it clear that reforms can be implemented successfully solely by a Government that enjoys support of citizens?

Therapy is not enough to regain confidence already. Now we need surgery.

The moment for partial renewal of the Cabinet of Ministers has been lost. It has been talked over ad nauseum.

The request for the full restart of the Government is already obvious. The Prime Minister has an opportunity to choose the best way to implement this request.

Total reformatting of the Cabinet of Ministers should take place on the basis of the current coalition of Solidarity, People’s Front, Samopomich and Motherland.

I appeal to the People’s Front and its leaders with whom we have achieved a lot and whom I considered, consider and will consider my associates and political partners.

Neither the fate of this Government, nor any personal ambitions of its members should affect the unity of our pro-European democratic team. We’ve joined the coalition not for the posts, but for the principles. Appointment to the Government must take place with the participation and support of all factions of the coalition. On the technocratic basis of reforms. From professionals free of political influence and lobbying interests.

The task of the Cabinet of Ministers is to ensure the growth of GDP, begin the restoration of the quality of life, organize fair privatization, transparent management of public enterprises, implement strict anti-corruption steps and continue cooperation with the IMF and other international financial institutions.

All this will only enhance our strategic course towards the EU and NATO, strengthen the country's defense, improve the welfare of Ukrainians and reinforce the foundations of our democratic parliamentary-presidential political system.

I am convinced that the country has no time to plunge into the fourth election campaign in less than two years, let alone external aggression.

An internal political war of all against all is the dream of our north-eastern neighbor.

That's why I took the floor and expressed my vision of escape from the crisis – to avoid the worst scenario.

The dissolution of the Parliament is not an obligation, but only a right of the President. And I will use it only as a last resort. We simply do not have a right to allow that.

The issue of restoration of confidence has to be resolved within the walls of this Parliament.

Trust is the main resource we need to solve the problems of our country.

I expect the Parliament to adopt prompt and stately decisions. And I will fulfill my part of job.

I rely on your support, fellow Ukrainians.

Glory to Ukraine!

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