Ukraine parliament approves new government - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Ukraine parliament approves new government

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 Ukraine's Parliament approved the formation of a new government Tuesday, bringing an end to weeks of behind-the-scenes political wrangling following an October election that ushered in a group of ardently pro-Western parties.
   The Cabinet approved by lawmakers will be headed Arseniy Yatsenyuk, 40, who has served as prime minister since February.
   Five political blocs, including Yatsenyuk's Popular Front party, last month formed a parliamentary coalition that has vowed to enact an agenda of drastic economic and political reform.
   "We are prepared for the most radical and toughest changes in this country. This mission will be completed," Yatsenyuk said in a speech in parliament before the vote on the Cabinet.
   Yatsenyuk said social assistance spending had been reduced by $300 million this year and that the trend was set to continue.
   Tasks to be completed by the incoming government before year's end include brining in laws to give more budget-raising powers to local authorities and reducing the number of taxes, Yatsenyuk said.
   Ministers in the new Cabinet include several figures who received Ukrainian citizenship by presidential decree earlier Tuesday. One is Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, a U.S. national with experience working for the U.S. State Department in Washington.
   Many of the ministers in the Cabinet retain posts they have held for several months. Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, who were nominated by President Petro Poroshenko, were overwhelming reconfirmed to their jobs by parliament.
   The incoming government comes into force on a program to radically overhaul government, slash corruption and re-orient Ukraine toward Europe. Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk have both said they eventually want to see Ukraine join the European Union and NATO.
   Work on kick-starting the country's shrinking economy has been set back to date, however, by months of bitter fighting in the east between government forces and Russian-backed separatist rebels.

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