KIEV (Reuters) – The party of Ukraine’s new President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has kept a strong lead ahead of a parliamentary election due on July 21, an opinion poll showed on Monday.
The survey by KIIS research body showed the former television comedian’s equally new party, Servant of the People, on 34.4 percent, below previous readings by the Reiting pollster but still well ahead of the crowded field of 16 parties.
After taking office last month, Zelenskiy dismissed the parliament still dominated by loyalists of his defeated predecessor. Servant of the People has no lawmakers in the outgoing legislature and is campaigning on a pro-European and anti-corruption ticket.
The KIIS poll put Opposition Platform in second place on 8.4 percent, and European Solidarity – the party of Zelenskiy’s predecessor Petro Poroshenko – third on 5.8 percent.
The survey also showed Fatherland, the party of former prime minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, on 5.5 percent, above the 5 percent threshold to enter parliament.
KIIS said it interviewed 2,021 voters in all regions, except annexed Crimea, from May 26 to June 7.
About 26 percent of people declined to answer.
Half of the 450 seats in Ukraine’s parliament are elected on party lists and the other half in single-member constituencies.
A good showing next month would cement Zelenskiy’s meteoric rise and upending of Ukrainian politics.
He grew to national fame playing the TV comedy role of a schoolteacher who unexpectedly becomes president after a pupil films him making a foul-mouthed tirade against corrupt politicians and posts the video online. His campaign exploited the parallels with that fictional narrative, portraying him as an everyman who would stand up to a crooked political class.
Ukraine’s most pressing issue is conflict with its neighbour Russia, which annexed its Crimea region in 2014. Zelenskiy has said his first task is to achieve a ceasefire.
Following is a table showing the percentage support for leading parties among voters planning to take part in the election in three recent polls:
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)