The new party of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was on course Monday to win an outright majority in Parliament—a first for any single party in the country’s history—giving the comedian-turned-politician a stronger hand to deal with strained relations with Russia and Ukraine’s poverty-stricken economy.
Servant of the People, a newly formed party named after a TV show in which Mr. Zelensky played a fictional president, won around 42% of the vote, with more than two thirds of the ballots counted, according to preliminary official results.
Ukraine has a mixed election system, where half the seats are decided by votes on party lists and the remainder by first-past-the-post constituencies races. Servant of the People did better than expected in constituencies races, leading in around 126 out of 199 constituencies in Ukraine, the initial data showed.
Mr. Zelensky, who was elected in April, has limited powers as president so needs Parliament to choose a government and to legislate.
In the parliamentary vote, the 41-year-old Mr. Zelensky tapped into the same widespread discontent with the ruling class that catapulted him into the presidency. Five years after an antiestablishment revolution, Ukraine’s economy, Europe’s second poorest, is dependent on Western aid and still beset by chronic corruption.
A conflict with Russian-backed fighters drags on in the east, having claimed more than 13,000 lives. Mr. Zelensky has offered to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks, and the two leaders held their first phone call earlier this month to discuss a prisoner swap. Mr. Putin has said he would be willing to sit down with Mr. Zelensky after the parliamentary elections.
There was no immediate reaction from Western leaders to the election results, though the West has already thrown its support behind the president. Mr. Zelensky has met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron and has welcomed a U.S. congressional delegation.
The pro-Russian party Opposition Platform—For Life came in second, with 13% of the vote, followed by political groups led by former President Petro Poroshenko and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Another political newcomer, the Voice party of Ukrainian rock singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, got 6.3% of the vote. The final tally isn’t expected for days.
The chairman of the foreign affairs committee of Russia’s upper house of Parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, wrote on Facebook on Sunday that Mr. Zelensky’s “childhood and adolescence are definitely ending today.”
Write to Georgi Kantchev at firstname.lastname@example.org
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