Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has explained why Head of Odesa Regional State Administration Maksym Stepanov was dismissed.
"As for the causes for the dismissal. There are a lot of them, including the fact that Odesa region's rating has dropped most, by eight positions, among Ukrainian regions. And it ranks third from the bottom. There is another position as for the effectiveness of using funds, as the region had priority financing, including for road construction – millions of hryvnias, and Mr. Stepanov knows this," the president said on the Pravo na Vladu (Right to Power) TV show on Thursday evening.
Poroshenko added he should take people's opinion into account and draw the relevant conclusions.
"The Regional State Administration's head is a political position. And the assessment of the incumbent government given by voters in Odesa region is not only an assessment of the president, but also of the governor's performance," he added.
In turn, Stepanov said he linked his dismissal with the results of the first round of the presidential elections in Odesa region.
"And I have not handed in my resignation," he said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Poroshenko dismissed Stepanov as head of Odesa Regional State Administration and appointed First Deputy Head of the Administration Serhiy Parashchenko as acting governor. The relevant decrees were published on the president's website.
However, in an unexpected move, Stepanov refused to step down.
"A decree on my dismissal was published on the president's website a few hours ago. A very strange document, which, in my opinion, according to all lawyers, has nothing to do with the legislation of Ukraine," he said on Monday.
Stepanov said the document "went beyond the powers of the president" enshrined in the Constitution. The president has the right to appoint and dismiss heads of regional state administrations after the Cabinet submits the respective motion, he said. Yet, Stepanov said he was asked to tender his resignation. "I refused because I had no desire to do this. I continue performing my duties," he said.
UNIAN memo. Maksym Stepanov was appointed Odesa governor in January 2017. He replaced Mikheil Saakashvili. Before his appointment, Stepanov headed the state-run Ukraina Printing Plant.