• *President party says it has program, votes ready for change
  • *Ukrainian Prime Minister reiterates he should stay in power

The Ukrainian president’s party urged Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to resign so its new candidate for the post can be named and head a technocrat cabinet to lead the country out of the worst political crisis in two years.

“We have a new candidate, we have the program and we have votes” for the candidate’s approval in parliament, Yuriy Lutsenko, head of President Petro Poroshenko’s party, told the legislature council meeting in Kiev on Monday. “As soon as we get the prime minister’s resignation, we will submit our nomination. We have been waiting for this moment for a long time.” He declined to name the candidate.

Ukraine is embroiled in its worst political crisis since its current rulers were swept to power following deadly street protests that ousted the nation’s Kremlin-backed leader in 2014. Having climbed out of recession, restructured $15 billion of debt and signed a pact to end the armed conflict against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Poroshenko’s political coalition collapsed over efforts to stamp out graft. Any change of premier would have to be initiated by Yatsenyuk, who refuses to do so after he survived a no-confidence vote, triggered by Poroshenko’s party, on Feb. 16.

The premier urged the president to restore the parliamentary coalition and “strengthen the current cabinet and to work closely together.” If not, Poroshenko and his party should “take responsibility, name the new cabinet, new prime minister, new program” and look for support in the parliament for approval, Yatsenyuk said on Sunday.

The Ukrainian hryvnia weakened 3.8 percent to 26.5 against the dollar as of 1:40 p.m. in Kiev, ending three days of gains, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The central bank said it would sell as much as $60 million at an auction Monday to prop up the hryvnia.

Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko and parliament Speaker Volodymyr Hroisman are said to be among possible candidates for the post of premier. Leaders of parliamentary party groups will meet with Poroshenko at 7:30 p.m. in Kiev to discuss the government reshuffle, said Stepan Kubiv, a lawmaker for the president.

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