MAJOR: Zelensky sworn in as president of Ukraine, dissolves government, pushes for cease-fire
Questions of legality and integrity arise
KIEV – In a major development, the new president of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky was sworn in, and as expected ordered the government to resign. In his address, he announced that he was ready to do anything to stop the fighting in the Donbass.
“I want to quote the American actor who has become a great American president:” The government does not solve our problems – the government is our problem. ” I do not understand our government, which only throws up its hands and tells me that we can not do. This is not true, you can: you can take the paper, take a pen and free up your seats for those who will think about the next generations, and not about the next elections, ”said Zelensky.
This is, as many know, a reference to former U.S President Ronald Reagan. According to Zelensky, a cease-fire in the Donbass is currently a top priority.
“I was often asked what I was prepared for for the sake of a cease-fire. Weird question. And what are you, Ukrainians, ready for the life of people close to you? For what? I can assure you: in order that our heroes no longer die, I am ready for anything. I’m definitely not afraid to make difficult decisions. I am ready to lose my popularity, my ratings, and, if necessary, I am ready to lose my position without hesitation, so that only peace will come, ”said the President of Ukraine.
Today Vladimir Zelensky officially took office as President of Ukraine.
“I dissolve the Verkhovna Rada of the eighth convocation,” announced the new head of state.
On the morning of May 17, Parliament Speaker Andrei Paruby announced the termination of the “European Ukraine” coalition after the Popular Front faction left it. He also urged to start discussing the creation of a new coalition. In turn, the team of Vladimir Zelensky said that the coalition in the parliament ceased to exist long before the release of the Popular Front from it.
Before taking office, Zelensky took the oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people.
“Mr. President, now the whole country is watching this solemn moment. This moment symbolizes that the citizens of Ukraine exercised their right to fair, transparent and democratic elections and elected a new president. This certificate of the president contains all the dreams and hopes of millions of our compatriots. Therefore, handing it to you, the CEC congratulates with the election to this high and at the same time responsible position of our state. We wish you success and great accomplishments for the benefit of our country,” declared the head of the CEC, Tatyana Slipachuk.
Zelensky furthermore called for the dismissal of the head of the Security Service of Ukraine – Vasyl Gritsak , the Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko and Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak .
At the same time, the new president stated that he was giving a term of 2 months for dismissal to the heads of these departments (that is, until July 20, tentatively).
Also, President Zelensky indicated to deputies of parliament that they need to adopt a law abolishing their own immunity. To date, these represent the most significant changes within Ukraine since the illegal overthrow of Yanukovich.
“I want you to pass a law on the abolition of the immunity of deputies, on criminal liability for illegal enrichment … Do this and hang your own medals – these are good points for early parliamentary elections,” he said.
Stepan Poltorak has in fact already resigned from the post of Minister of Defense of Ukraine, immediately after Vladimir Zelensky became president. The same was done by the head of the Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak and all his deputies. They filed resignation reports.
At the same time, the Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko did not take such a step. Previously, it was reported that he abruptly changed his mind about going to the Rada and decided to remain the Prosecutor General of Ukraine. Nevertheless, after Zelensky’s statement, it is completely incomprehensible how he is going to retain the prosecutor’s chair.
Concluding his inaugural speech, Zelensky promised to make sure that “in the next five years, Ukrainians do not cry.”
Zelensky took office in the presence of members of parliament, all ex-presidents (with the exception of Viktor Yanukovich ), as well as US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker and US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.
Motives and legality in question
According to Bogdan Bezpalko, a member of the Council on Interethnic Relations under the Russian President:
“Zelensky can go to the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada, but it will be a gross violation of the law. The Ukrainian parliament announced the elimination of the old coalition, and now the deputies have a month to create a new one. And in a month, the period of the semi-annual period of immunity of the Rada from dissolution, which precedes the new parliamentary elections, will begin, ” .
In his opinion, if Rada herself does not agree to dissolution in violation of the law, Zelensky will have to take extraordinary steps.
“It will be necessary to bring people out onto the street, to exert pressure, to organize an appropriate court decision,” the expert stressed.
According to Bezpalko, so far the main feature of all the actions of Vladimir Zelensky as a politician is duality.
“Now, on the Internet, the draft of the dissolution of the Rada appears, now in the Zelensky team they call him a fake, then Zelensky himself says that Rada still intends to dissolve … And we see this duality in everything. On the one hand, he talks about peace, about ending the war, on the other – that he does not intend to discuss the territorial structure, and sees Crimea with the Donbas as part of Ukraine. Does he seriously believe that people will just take it and come back? The same with the general course. There are expectations of change, but there are people in the team of Zelensky himself who have joined him from the Poroshenko team. Ivan Aparshin, who is responsible for his defense issues,speaks about the course towards joining NATO and proclaiming the fact of war with Russia. What is this if not the continuation of the course of the past government? ”The expert notes.
“It’s too early to talk about what Zelensky’s policy will be and what Ukraine will look like in the context of all this duality and contradictions. Difficult negotiations are still ahead of Ukrainian elites, as a result of which the same Minister of the Interior Arsen Avakov can remain in his place, lead the Foreign Ministry instead of Pavel Klimkin or even become a speaker. He will look at this post not as strange as a man in the presidential chair, who recently danced on his heels in tight pants in a parody of the Cossacks group, ”Bogdan Bezpalko concluded.