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21.07.2019 Europe

Ukraine president's party tipped to win snap parliamentary election

Sergei GAPON / AFP
JUL 21, 2019 EUROPE

Ukrainians head to the polls on Sunday to elect a new parliament as comedian-turned-president Volodymyr Zelensky seeks to bring in political novices and consolidate his power.

Zelensky's newly-created party is expected to win the largest share of the votes in the election that should usher in a new era in the country dominated up to now by politicians who grew up when the country was part of the Soviet Union.

The leader's party Servant of the People -- named after a sitcom in which he played a president -- is predicted to get roughly half of the vote even though it barely existed before Zelensky won a landslide victory in an April presidential vote.

Zelensky's rise has been viewed as a rejection of Ukraine's political elite for their failure to improve living standards, root out corruption and end the conflict with Russian-backed separatists that began in 2014 after a popular uprising ousted a pro-Moscow president.

The Ukrainian leader shares power with parliament, which will nominate a prime minister and form a government.

Speaking in the run-up to the vote, Zelensky promised to put together a "technocratic government".

"My goal is to make Ukraine one of the fastest growing and developing European economies," he said.

The ballot is expected to dramatically transform the makeup of the legislature, with analysts predicting that between 50 and 70 percent of the next parliament will be first-time MPs.