November 17, 2017 / 10:20 AM / in a year

UPDATE 1-Ukraine lawmaker: several candidates for central bank chief

(Adds detail, quote, background)

KIEV, Nov 17 (Reuters) - The acting governor of Ukraine’s central bank, Yakiv Smoliy, and the head of Raiffeisen Bank’s local unit are among candidates for the role of central bank governor, Interfax Ukraine quoted lawmaker Ihor Kononenko as saying on Friday.

Kononenko has close ties to President Petro Poroshenko, whose months-long delay in nominating a candidate for approval by parliament has concerned Ukraine’s financial backers, including the International Monetary Fund.

“Consultations are ongoing. At the moment there are several candidates,” Kononenko said, naming Smoliy and Raiffeisen’s Volodymyr Lavrenchuk as possible nominees.

“I hope that the consultations will be concluded by the end of the year,” he said, without giving further details.

Since the resignation of former governor Valeriia Gontareva in May, the president and his representatives have repeatedly said a nomination was in the pipeline, but unofficial deadlines have been missed.

The new governor will be a key intermediary with the World Bank and the IMF, which are major contributors to a $40 billion aid-for-reforms bailout.

When she resigned, Gontareva called for the central bank to stay independent as she believed resistance to changes and reforms would increase.

She had been forced to fend off attacks from lawmakers who opposed the Western-backed austerity measures to shore up Ukraine’s conflict-hit and graft-ridden economy. (Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; editing by Matthias Williams and John Stonestreet)

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