Ukraine Ruling Party Looks to Avert Amendment Storm Blocking Aid

(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s ruling party intends to approve a bill this week required to start a new $8 billion program with the International Monetary Fund, using a fast-track procedure to overcome opposition from allies of oligarch Igor Kolomoisky.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s Servant of the People Party will push to change parliamentary rules to sidestep the need to debate thousands of amendments put forward by legislators close to Kolomoisky, according to party member Mykyta Poturayev.

The bill’s opponents bombarded the assembly with the proposed changes to disrupt the approval of the draft law on banks, which if passed will derail Kolomoisky’s efforts to regain control over largest lender Privatbank. He owned the bank before it was forcefully nationalized during a 2016 liquidity shortfall, and later the government discovered $5.5 billion had been funneled out. Kolomoisky denies wrongdoing.

“The idea is to pass the draft law -- hopefully on Wednesday -- that will allow cutting the number of amendments for any bill if most lawmakers back the special procedure,” Poturayev said in a text message Monday. “If that law isn’t blocked, we’ll be able to approve the bill on banks either later this week or after Orthodox Easter (April 19).”

The country of 41 million needs the rescue loans from the IMF and other international donors to cover its budget deficit, which will grow threefold this year due to the coronavirus crisis.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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