Kiev, 21 July 2019 (dpa/MIA) – Ukrainians headed to the polls on Sunday to elect new lawmakers after recently inaugurated President Volodymyr Zelensky disbanded the parliament in a bid to reshuffle it in his favour.
Zelensky, 41, is a television star with no previous political experience. Presenting himself as an alternative to a corrupt political establishment, he won the presidential run-off in April in a landslide, with about three-quarters of the votes.
As a rookie politician, Zelensky has had to contend with a parliament stacked in favour of the country’s previous leadership.
Within days of his May inauguration, he issued a decree to disband the legislature and hold snap elections.
His political party, Servant of the People – which carries the same name as his hit television show – is supported by nearly half of those Ukrainians who intend to vote, 47 per cent, according to a recent survey by independent pollster Rating Group.
Zelensky “certainly needs these parliamentary elections to get a presidential majority, a pro-presidential government and prime minister,” said political expert Vadim Karasev, director of the Institute of Global Strategies, a Ukrainian think tank.
“Right now, he and his party have high ratings. His party has the potential to achieve a dominating position in the new parliament,” Ukrainian political expert Volodymyr Fesenko, who heads the Kiev-based Penta Centre of Applied Political Studies, told dpa.
Karasev speculated that the elections would result in the formation of a coalition government with Servant of the People, the pro-Western party Voice and possibly the Fatherland party of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.