Mon, 19 Aug 2019

KYIV -- Ukrainian voters have spoken -- yet again -- and their message is loud and clear: They want change.

Three months to the day after comedian-turned-President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's landslide election victory upended Ukrainian politics, his political party continued the trend, as it appeared to score a decisive -- even unprecedented -- win in the country's snap parliamentary vote on July 21.

Pledging to crack down on corruption, fix the struggling economy, and end the Russia-backed separatist conflict in the country's east, Zelenskiy's Servant Of The People party -- named after the television series that catapulted him to fame -- is on track to win about 122 seats in the national party-list vote and 125 in direct races in single-mandate districts, according to partial results from the Central Election Commission.

Here are five takeaways from the vote.

Historic Mandate For Reforms

As results from single-mandate districts came in overnight, it became apparent that Zelenskiy's Servant Of The People will occupy a majority of the new parliament -- a historic first for the country.

'A de-facto presidential republic as all power consolidated in [Zelenskiy's] hands,' tweeted Balazs Jarabik, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Roughly one-half of the Verkhovna Rada is elected on party lists. The rest are elected in 199 individual local races. Some experts had thought Servant Of The People would perform poorly in those direct races, which are often dominated by influential local players backed by powerful businessmen.

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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