He has moved swiftly to consolidate power since his election last month, and today Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovich scored a fresh victory, with a close ally appointed as prime minister.
Speaking before being given parliament’s backing, Mykola Azarov hinted tough times could lie ahead. State coffers were “empty” the former finance minister declared, adding that a “realistic” budget would have to be redrafted for 2010.
In a country used to long political crises, events today happened remarkably quickly. A new ruling coalition led by Yanukovich’s Regions Party was formed. And, after Azarov, the rest of the government was rapidly named.
He replaces Yulia Tymoshenko who was ousted in a no-confidence vote last week. Her departure marks the end of five years of rule by the leadership which emerged from the pro-Western ‘Orange Revolution.’
Yanukovich’s victory has tilted the former Soviet republic back towards Russia. Battered by the economic downturn, Ukraine now desperately needs