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Party of Ukraine's president leads opinion poll ahead of July vote

Party of Ukraine's president leads opinion poll ahead of July vote
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is seen at his desk in his office at the Presidential Administration building in Kiev, Ukraine June 19, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko -
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VALENTYN OGIRENKO(Reuters)
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KIEV (Reuters) – The new party set up by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who took office last month, could win the most seats in a parliamentary election due on July 21, an opinion poll showed on Wednesday.

The survey conducted by research group Reiting from June 8 to June 12 showed Zelenskiy’s party, Servant of the People, had the support of 36.9 percent of people who said they would vote.

In its previous poll, done from June 6 to June 9, Zelenskiy’s party got 41.1 percent.

A good showing next month would cement the former television comedian’s meteoric rise to upend Ukrainian politics.

The outgoing parliament, dismissed by Zelenskiy after his landslide election victory in April, is dominated by loyalists of his defeated predecessor Petro Poroshenko. Servant of the People, campaigning on a pro-European, anti-corruption ticket, has no lawmakers at present.

Another new party – Voice – established by Ukrainian rock-singer Sviatoslav Vakarchuk – managed to gained more support: 6.4 percent versus 5.6 according to the previous poll and got to the third place following Opposition Platform with 8.7 percent.

While the party of former prime minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, scored 5.7 percent to keep the chance to get to the parliament, Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party lost much of its support and has got only 3.9 percent what is lower than the 5 percent threshold to enter parliament.

Reiting said it interviewed 2,500 voters in all regions, except annexed Crimea.

Half of the 450 seats in Ukraine’s parliament are elected via party lists and the other half in single-member constituencies.

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.

Zelenskiy became famous playing the TV comedy role of a schoolteacher who unexpectedly becomes president after a pupil films his foul-mouthed tirade against corrupt politicians and posts the video online. His presidential campaign exploited parallels with that fictional narrative, portraying him as an everyman who would stand up to a crooked political class.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Editing by Alison Williams)

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