Party of Ukraine’s president can win parliamentary majority: poll

June 14, 2019

KIEV (Reuters) – The new party set up by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who took office last month, could win a majority in a parliamentary election due on July 21, an opinion poll showed on Friday.

A good showing next month would cement the former television comedian’s meteoric rise and upending of Ukrainian politics.

The survey by research group SOCIS showed Zelenskiy’s party, Servant of the People, had the support of 51.1 percent of people who said they would vote.

The outgoing parliament, dismissed by Zelenskiy after his landslide election victory in April, is dominated by loyalists of his defeated predecessor Petro Poroshenko. Servant of the People, campaigning on a pro-European, anti-corruption ticket, has no lawmakers at present.

The SOCIS poll had Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party in second place on 9.5 percent, followed by Opposition Platform on 9.2 percent. Fatherland, the party of former prime minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, scored 8.7 percent, above the 5 percent threshold to enter parliament.

SOCIS said it interviewed 4,000 voters in all regions, except annexed Crimea, from May 29 to June 6.

Half of the 450 seats in Ukraine’s parliament are elected via party lists and the other half in single-member constituencies.

Ukraine’s most pressing issue is conflict with its neighbor Russia, which annexed its Crimea region in 2014. Zelenskiy has said his first task is to achieve a ceasefire.

Zelenskiy became famous playing the TV comedy role of a schoolteacher who unexpectedly becomes president after a pupil films his foul-mouthed tirade against corrupt politicians and posts the video online. His presidential campaign exploited parallels with that fictional narrative, portraying him as an everyman who would stand up to a crooked political class.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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