Ukraine has a new PM - Yuriy Yekhanurov
Ukraine has a new prime minister -- Yuriy Yekhanurov, an economist and longstanding ally of the president -- was approved by the parliament Thursday.
Yekhanurov -- regarded as a moderate -- was President Viktor Yushchenko's choice to replace former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Tymoshenko was fired amid a string of scandals that shattered the team of Orange Revolution reformist leaders brought to power after a peaceful pro-Western revolution last year.
Earlier in the week, the first attempt to elect Yekhanurov as PM had been defeated. But Thursday's vote had the support of Viktor Yanukovych's Party of the Regions. Yanukovych was the losing candidate in last year's bitter presidential election.
The president had appealed to Ukraine's diverse political forces to unite behind Yekhanurov, asking them to avoid any moves that would destabilize the country.
The 57-year-old Yekhanurov is seen as a cautious and pragmatic politician. Soon after his nomination as acting prime minister two weeks ago he said: "There will be no reprivatisation ... there will be talks, negotiations and I think there will be settlements."
Yekhanurov was born in Russia's Yakutia region and worked on construction projects in his early career.
He worked his way up through government ranks in Ukraine, holding the posts of economy minister, head of the privatisation agency and deputy prime minister.
He served as deputy prime minister when Yushchenko headed the government in 2000-2001 and ran the Dnipropetrovsk region after last year's Orange Revolution.
Yekhanurov has disagreed with former prime minister Tymoshenko on several issues, calling for clarity and consistency in privatisation and currency policy.
He was especially critical of her handling of an attempt to return to state control a privatised metals plant in Nikopol, where workers objected and confronted police.