Ukraine’s parliament Thursday confirmed the appointment of Volodymr Groysman as premier in a 257 to 50 vote replacing Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
The 38-year-old lawyer by training has gone from a small city mayor to Ukraine’s premier over a remarkable two-year span, during which he formed a close relationship with President Petro Poroshenko.
Groysman is son of Jewish parents from Vinnytsia, the western Ukrainian city that elected him mayor in 2006, and is the first openly Jewish person to hold the country’s second highest post and is also the youngest person to have the job.
Speaking ahead of the vote, Groysman was confident to tackle one of eastern Europe’s more difficult tasks: “I am good for it. I am able to work 24 hours a day.”
Groysman also reaffirmed his commitment to rebuild Ukraine’s economy with an austerity plan referring to the country’s $17 billion debt to the International Monetary Fund, a financial crisis that has halved the national currency’s value against the dollar and the conflict with Russia.
“I understand the threats that face us. In particular I would like to highlight three threats – corruption, ineffective governance and populism, which do not pose less of a threat than the enemy in eastern Ukraine,” he said
However, not everyone is praising his entrepreneurial spirit. “His world view is limited to Vinnytsia” said one political advisors.
Groysman has been criticized for his poor English and for bluntly rejecting the possibility of same-sex marriage in Ukraine.
“Family values are essential,” he told lawmakers. “Same-sex marriages are impossible in Ukraine.”