Europe

Ukraine's new parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Hroysman

Speaker Volodymyr Hroysman during a session of the parliament in Kiev Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Volodymyr Hroysman is an ally of President Petro Poroshenko

Volodymyr Hroysman, the new speaker of Ukraine's parliament, is seen as an ally of President Petro Poroshenko.

A long-serving mayor, he first came to prominence following the pro-EU protests which ousted President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.

He was appointed deputy prime minister following Mr Poroshenko's election.

Much has been made of his youth and his ties to the current president.

As deputy prime minister, he was put in charge of the investigation into the Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane crash in Ukraine. He was also responsible for coordinating efforts for those displaced from the rebel-held areas in the east of the country.

'Loyal and reliable'

As a Jew, Mr Hroysman's appointment to a top political post is at odds with claims in the Russian media that the government in Kiev is influenced by anti-Semites.

Kiev's Chief Rabbi, Yaakov Dov Bleich, said his appointment as deputy prime minister was intended to "shut the mouths of those who say that the government is anti-Semitic".

Mr Hroysman says his top priority as speaker is to push through economic and political reforms.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Clashes between pro Russian rebels and government forces have continued in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine

Delegating more powers to regional administrations is a sore point for many Ukrainians who say a lack of decentralization is one of the reasons behind the unrest in the east of the country.

"We have to return Crimea and restore Donbass," Mr Hroysman said in his inauguration speech.

"We are short of time, we must act professionally and urgently. We must make sure that parliament pushes forward reforms, not slows them down."

Speaking to Radio Liberty, analyst Anatoliy Oktysyuk said Mr Hroysman's appointment as speaker was part of President Poroshenko's plan to "lessen the degree of conflict in parliament" with the support of a "loyal and reliable" official.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Poroshenko (centre) hopes Volodymyr Hroysman will develop cooperation between Ukraine's parties

"Hroysman is a young man, a young politician who embodies European approaches and he will try to find new ways of cooperation with various parties and MP groups," he added.

"Hroysman is young, his career has been too rapid. We have to understand that he was appointed thanks to the president's efforts," commentator Vadym Karasyov told Kiev-based Radio Stolytsi.

Early years

Mr Hroysman began his career working as a fitter for his father's company. By 16, he was commercial director. He stayed in business for another 11 years, dealing mostly in trade and construction, often working with his father.

He first entered politics in 2005 when he joined President Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party as a 27-year-old city councillor. A year later, he was mayor of the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsya, where he stayed for eight years and was seen as progressive and forward-looking.

Up until 2014, it seems Mr Hroysman had no ambition to leave his mayoral post for a top government job in the capital. In 2006, he told influential weekly Dzerkalo Tyzhnya that he was "not interested in Kiev or any ministry."

Mr Hroysman is married with three children.

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