August 20, 2019
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Volodymyr Zelensky to form first solo government in Ukraine history

 Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to media at his party's headquarters after the parliamentary elections in Kiev, Ukraine, 21 July 2019. EFE/EPA/TATYANA ZENKOVICH

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to media at his party's headquarters after the parliamentary elections in Kiev, Ukraine, 21 July 2019. EFE/EPA/TATYANA ZENKOVICH

Kiev, Jul 22 (efe-epa).- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks set to form a government on his own for the first time in the post-Soviet history of the country.

His party Servant of the People is set for a landslide victory in parliamentary elections on Sunday, pending any surprises in the final stage of the voting.

Preliminary results from the Central Electoral Commission of Ukraine show that he obtained an overwhelming majority, both by lists of parties and in the majority constituencies.

Alexander Kornienko, head of the Servant of the People campaign, said it was calculated to obtain a total of 255 seats, 29 more than the 226 that make up the constitutional majority needed to elect the prime minister and approve the program change that has been promised to the citizens.

He added that according to parallel scrutiny carried out by the campaign, the party will obtain between 125 and 127 deputies by party lists and 121 or 122 in the majority constituencies.

Party leader Dmitry Razumkov, whom the Ukrainian media indicated as future president in the parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, said that there is no need to talk about needing a coalition to form a government.

"Talking about a coalition is not necessary for now, because we see quite good results, and those of our colleagues and opponents are not clear," he added.

While the polls predicted an overwhelming victory for Zelensky’s party in closed-list elections, few expected it to be able to impose itself so clearly in the majority constituencies.

Razumkov said that Servant of the People will present four bills that will change the functioning of the Rada.

It concerns the elimination of parliamentary immunity, modifications to the Rada's regulations, a constitutional amendment to revoke the deputy's minutes and a law to sanction non-contact voting in the Chamber.

"I think that thanks to these legislative initiatives will not have to speak of usurpation of power," he added.

Zelensky also promised to present a constitutional amendment to establish a mechanism for the dismissal of the head of state, currently nonexistent in Ukrainian legislation.

"We will not disappoint the Ukrainians, you know our main priorities, which are the same of all Ukrainians: the end of the war, the return of the prisoners and the victory over corruption," he said Zelensky on Sunday at the ballot box.

According to the official figures, the formation of the Ukrainian president could be done with up to 126 seats of the 199 that are settled in the majority constituencies.

With 70.5% of the votes counted, Servant of the People obtained 42.7% of the votes in the modality by party lists, well ahead of its next rival, Opposition Bloc, a formation that advocates for the full restoration of relations with Russia, which got 13%.

In third place was European Solidarity of former president Petro Poroshenko, with 8.4%, followed by Batkivshchyna (All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland") of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, with 8% and the Voice party of singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk with 6.2%.

The country’s parliament is made up of 450 seats but it will have 424 deputies since in 26 majority constituencies, located in the conflict zone in the east of the country, no elections were held.

According to the CEC, which has until 5 August to announce the final results, turnout in the elections on Sunday was 49.84%, 2.58 percentage points less than in 2014.

International observers have endorsed the elections but highlighted a number of deficiencies.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said the voting generally respected fundamental freedoms and were competitive but warned that there were “numerous” shortcomings, including the purchase of votes and financial irregularities.

"The elections were efficiently managed despite the short time that there was to prepare the elections, which we see as an opportunity to consolidate the reforms and changes that Ukrainian voters expect," Ilkka Kanerva, coordinator of observation at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said.

The purchase of votes resulted in 125 criminal investigations, OSCE said and also highlighted the replacement of a significant number of members of electoral commissions at a local level by parties on the same day as the elections. EFE-EPA

nvc-bsi/rb

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