Ukraine: Landslide Victory for New Political Party Based on TV Show, But TV-Star President May Be Tied to Oligarchs

Ukraine TV star and npw Resident Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Youtube
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Ukraine: ‘Servant of the People’ was a popular TV show about a high-school teacher whose rant against corruption went viral on the internet, and he was elected president. In real life, the lead actor, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was elected to the office of president in May 2019. A new party was formed a few months ago and named for the TV show, ‘Servant of the People’, which won the majority of votes in parliament by a landslide. Graft has stifled economic growth in the Eastern European country for many years. However, it is unknown whether the left-leaning Zelenskiy will break from the oligarch-and-backroom-deals tradition of politicking in Ukraine as he has ties to one of the country’s wealthiest men, Igor Kolomoyskiy, who has triple citizenship in Ukraine, Israel and Cyprus. -GEG

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Ukraine’s Central Election Commission says it has counted all of the ballots cast in July 21 snap parliamentary elections, confirming an overwhelming win for President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s Servant of the People party.

The results posted on the commission’s website on July 26 show the comedian-turned-president’s party taking top spot with 43.16 percent of the votes, with his main challenger, the pro-Russian Opposition Platform — For Life party, far behind in second place with 13.05 percent of the ballots.

Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland party placed third with 8.18 percent of the votes, while former President Petro Poroshenko’s European Solidarity was next with 8.10 percent in the election, which was held three months ahead of schedule.

Rock star Svyatoslav Vakarchuk’s Holos (Voice) party was the only other to pass the five-percent threshold needed for parliamentary representation, taking 5.80 percent of the votes.

Turnout, the commission said, was 49.2 percent.

Under Ukraine’s mixed election system, half the Rada’s seats are determined by votes on party lists and the rest are first-past-the-post constituency races.

The commission did not announce a breakdown of the allocation of seats in the legislature, but Zelenskiy’s party is expected to end up with a majority, the first time in Ukraine’s postindependence history that a party will have won a majority in the parliament — the Verkhovna Rada.

Local media outlets estimate Zelenskiy’s party won 254 seats, compared with 43 seats for the Opposition Platform — For Life, 26 seats for Fatherland, 25 seats for the European Solidarity party, and 20 seats for Holos.

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