U.S. Markets open in 8 hrs 11 mins

Ukraine's New Leader Sets Snap Parliamentary Election for July

Daryna Krasnolutska and Yulia Surkova
Ukraine's New Leader Sets Snap Parliamentary Election for July

(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s new leader started a two-month countdown to snap parliamentary elections as the TV comedian-turned-politician tries to consolidate power after his rapid rise to power.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who won a landslide victory in April’s presidential runoff, issued a decree Tuesday setting the ballot for July 21. He was only sworn in the previous day, but with no representation in the legislature, immediately dissolved the assembly, dismissing opposition from parts of the ruling coalition.

After holding consultations with lawmakers, he said the main reason for the move is “a very low level of trust among Ukrainian citizens in this institution.”

A comic who plays a fictional president on television, Zelensky’s rise was largely down to his lack of political baggage in a country that’s suffered for decades from widespread corruption. His goals include ending the war with Kremlin-backed fighters that broke out after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. His party, named Servant of the People after his popular show, currently leads polls.

Zelenskiy also urged parliament’s speaker to convene an emergency session on Wednesday to make changes to electoral legislation. He wants single-seat constituencies abolished and the threshold for parties to enter the assembly lowered to 3% from 5%.

Also Tuesday, Zelenskiy made his first appointment, replacing Viktor Muzhenko with Ruslan Khomchak as chief of the general staff, according to a decree on the presidential website.

--With assistance from Kateryna Choursina.

To contact the reporters on this story: Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev at dkrasnolutsk@bloomberg.net;Yulia Surkova in Kiev at ysurkova@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net, Andrew Langley, Michael Winfrey

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.