Ukraine Top Prosecutor Wants to Keep Job Under New President

(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s top prosecutor said he doesn’t plan to resign and is ready to work with President-Elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who’s indicated repeatedly that he’ll replace him as one of his first orders of business after taking power.

Yuriy Lutsenko said he held talks on May 11 with Zelenskiy, a comedian and political novice who won elections in April and is expected to be sworn in this month.

“We know each other well,” Lutsenko said Tuesday in an interview at his office in Kiev. “I had a good two-hour meeting with him. He mainly listened. I’m easy to get on with and I’m ready to work with everyone who works for Ukraine.”

The prosecutor’s post has become a barometer of Ukraine’s commitment to reforms after the 2014 ouster of Russian-backed leader Viktor Yanukovych. Lutsenko, an ally of outgoing President Petro Poroshenko, took up his post in 2016 and has been heavily criticized for not cracking down on crooked officials, while not properly investigating attacks on anti-corruption activists.

Lutsenko is unpopular among Ukrainians and the country’s Western donors. He’s also sought to involve himself in the controversy around former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.

Parliament Return?

By law, the president picks the prosecutor general and parliament must approve the candidate. Lawmakers can also fire prosecutors via no-confidence votes.

Zelenskiy hasn’t changed his mind and still plans to replace him, Dmytro Razumkov, one of his aides, told Bloomberg by phone. “When it will happen depends on parliament,” as Zelenskiy has several candidates for the job, he said.

Lutsenko, who was elected as a lawmaker in 2014, doesn’t rule returning to parliament once his stint as chief prosecutor ends. “Never say never. I’m not aiming for parliament but I don’t rule out that I may be there.”

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