Fri, 20 Sep 2019

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been inaugurated as the country's new president.

Zelensky, 41, a former comedian best known for playing a president on a popular television show, won the runoff election against incumbent President Petro Poroshenko on April 21 with more than 73 percent of votes.

'I pledge to protect the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,' Zelenskiy said during the swearing-in ceremony in parliament in the capital, Kyiv, on May 20.

Flanked by bodyguards, Zelenskiy walked to parliament through a park crowded with people, giving high-fives and taking selfies with some of the spectators.

The inauguration came just days after Ukraine's main coalition broke up, in a setback for Zelenskiy's plans to hold early general elections.

Parliament speaker Andriy Parubiy announced the European Ukraine coalition's collapse on May 17, after People's Front leader Maksym Burbak said his party was withdrawing from the coalition.

The People's Front is the second-largest faction in the Verkhovna Rada.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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