Ukraine ex-PM Tymoshenko seeks prime minister post

Ukraine ex-PM Tymoshenko seeks prime minister post
Ukraine opposition firebrand Yulia Tymoshenko launch a popularist anti-IMF campaign in her bid to become PM for a third time
By bne IntelliNews May 31, 2019

She has already been Ukraine’s Prime Minister twice and now the opposition firebrand Yulia Tymoshenko is seeking the office for a third time. Tymoshenko urged Ukrainians to vote for her Fatherland party in the July 21 early parliamentary elections so that she can return as prime minister.

"If people vote for our party, truly, I as a leader can compete for the prime minister post," she told Ukrainian state radio on May 29.

Tymoshenko’s party is one of the strongest in the country. She lead the polls for most of the presidential election campaign only to lose out to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and former President Petro Poroshenko in the final months. Now she has set her sights on parliament.

Tymoshenko stressed her party is not in opposition to President Zelenskiy or his party Servant of the People. "We wanted to give him our New Economic Course that we developed and which can fulfil wholesale changes in Ukraine," she said. "It offers the possibility to achieve Poland’s level in five years and develop the country further. We don’t plan to create a unified opposition. We want to help the president, who was elected by the people."

Tymoshenko launched her campaign with popularist measures that would undo many of the changes forced on the country by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She vowed to raise the average monthly pension to about UAH4,000 ($148) and cut the natural gas price for households, in violation of Ukraine’s IMF obligations.

Zenon Zawada at Kyiv-based brokerage Concorde Capital believes that Tymoshenko’s Fatherland party will certainly qualify for parliament, with at least a 5% result, but it’s doubtful Tymoshenko will become prime minister.

"Both Tymoshenko and her party have already peaked in their popularity and have entered their political twilight," he wrote in a note on May 30. "Moreover, Ukraine’s politicians are quite aware that Tymoshenko would derail IMF cooperation, not only by opposing natural gas price hikes but also the launch of a farmland market. It’s also worth considering that her party enjoys the support of Kolomoisky, who recently voiced his own IMF scepticism."