Ukraine's Supreme Court elects new head after corruption scandal

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine's Supreme Court elected a new head on Friday following the removal of his predecessor, who has been detained on bribery allegations in the country's biggest anti-corruption case.

A total of 108 judges out of 148 voted to appoint 56-year-old Stanyslav Kravchenko, who had been the head of the Cassation Chamber for Criminal Cases, which is part of the Supreme Court.

Ukraine has in recent months increased efforts to clamp down on corruption despite Russia's invasion.

Fighting corruption is vital for Ukraine as it tries to meet the criteria for joining the European Union. Judicial reforms and the rule of law are also important as it strives to maintain support from the International Monetary Fund and seeks Western financial aid.

The previous head of Ukraine's Supreme Court, Vsevolod Kniaziev, was dismissed this month following his detention.

Kniaziev is suspected of taking a $2.7-million bribe. He has denied wrongdoing and criticised his detention, but said he is cooperating with investigators.

At a plenary court meeting broadcast online, judges considered four candidates to replace Kniaziev. Kravchenko, who was elected a judge at the Supreme Court in 2017, received by far the most votes.

The head of the Supreme Court is elected from among the court's judges for a four-year term and cannot hold the office for more than two consecutive terms.

(Reporting by Olena Harmash, Editing by Timothy Heritage)