Ukraine president's party leads poll ahead of July election

Ukraine president's party leads poll ahead of July election
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy reacts following the announcement of the first exit poll in a presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo -
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Valentyn Ogirenko(Reuters)
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KIEV (Reuters) – A party set up by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who took office last month, continues to lead in an opinion poll published on Wednesday ahead of a snap parliamentary election due on July 21.

The survey conducted by research group Reiting from June 20 to June 24 showed Zelenskiy’s party, Servant of the People, had the support of 37.3% of people who said they would vote.

In its previous poll, done in a period of June 8-12, Zelenskiy’s party got 36.9%.

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 last month by Ukrainian rock-singer Sviatoslav Vakarchuk – managed to increase its support: 6.9% versus 6.4% according to the previous poll, and got to the third place after Opposition Platform with 9.9%.

Among other political forces seen able to overcome the five-percent threshold, there are Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party with 5.9% and the party of former prime minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, which scored 5.8%.

Reiting said it interviewed 2,000 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 William Maclean)

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