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Ukrainians vote in snap parliament elections called by new president

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.

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.

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