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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Low-Key Technocrat to Form New Cabinet

Itar-TassYuriy Yekhanurov, acting prime minister
KIEV -- Yuriy Yekhanurov, named on Thursday as Ukraine's acting prime minister, is an old ally of President Viktor Yushchenko and has a reputation as a low-key technocrat that contrasts with his predecessor's flamboyant style.

Yushchenko asked Yekhanurov, a 57-year-old regional governor, to form a new Cabinet after he sacked Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her ministers following allegations of corruption. He said they had lost their "team spirit."

Some observers said Yekhanurov was only a stop-gap figure. But his long career as a government manager should help him bring consistency to Ukraine's economic policy, something lacking under Tymoshenko, analysts said.

His ability to seek compromise could also prove helpful in persuading parliament -- where Yushchenko does not have a stable majority -- to approve the Cabinet he will assemble.

"My task is for the government members to continue their work and to ensure stability," Yekhanurov was quoted as saying by the Ukrainska Pravda web site in his first public comments since his surprise appointment. "It means I should form the government and work efficiently."

The new government under Yekhanurov will seek to support Ukraine's spluttering economic growth and slow inflation in time for a parliamentary election in March 2006.

In the last several months, Yekhanurov has publicly disagreed on several issues with Tymoshenko, including over re-privatization and currency policy, saying more clarity and consistency was required.

He particularly criticized her handling of a dispute over the privatization of a ferro-alloy plant in Nikopol where workers rallied against plans to overturn its sale.

"I cannot accept blackmail. Ultimatums are not the right way to work. I try to take into consideration different views," he said.

Frequent and noisy public conflict between officials on policy issues have become a characteristic feature of the government under Tymoshenko, whose fiery speeches brought thousands out on to the streets in last December's Orange Revolution and helped Yushchenko to come to power.

In contrast, Yekhanurov is seen as a safe pair of hands.

He has said he is "the president's man" and has faithfully implemented Yushchenko's plans since being appointed governor of the industrial Dnipropetrovsk region earlier this year.

"I represent the president. There is a presidential program. I was one of those who participated in its preparation, and now I have a chance to implement it," Yekhanurov said in a recent interview to weekly Stolichniye Novosti.

Yekhanurov, born in Russia's Sakha republic, spent his early career as an engineer working on construction projects.

Later, he received an economics degree and worked his way up through the ranks of government. After Ukraine's independence, he was economy minister and head of the privatization agency.

He was deputy to Yushchenko during his term as the prime minister in 2000 and 2001.