Ukraine’s president is sworn in, dissolves parliament
Ukraine’s president is sworn in, dissolves parliament
Zelenskiy Sworn In As Ukrainian President, Says He's Dissolving Parliament
20 May, 2019, 22:22
Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky steps into his new role as Ukrainian president with his inauguration on Monday, launching a new era for the country wracked by war and economic difficulties.
"I have made a decision to resign after holding the government's next meeting on Wednesday", he said at a reporters' briefing in Kiev on Monday. He said that he wants to negotiate peace in Donbass, even if it risks losing his post.
Zelensky also emphasized that he is ready to open a dialogue to reach a ceasefire in Donbass, insisting that prisoners should be returned.
Even setting a date for his inauguration took weeks of negotiations, with Zelensky exasperatedly calling lawmakers "petty crooks".
Volodymyr Zelensky, whose Servant of People party has no representation in the current parliament, also used his inaugural address to promise an end to the war in the east of the country and asked MPs to fire several key officials including the current defence minister.
Petro Poroshenko, who was running for his second five-year term, received just 25% of the votes.
He broke with tradition and headed to the swearing-in ceremony on foot, high-fiving and taking selfies with supporters along the way.
Zelensky, a comedian who previously played the president of Ukraine in a television series, had no real-life political experience prior to his presidential run.
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Some critics claimed his run was backed by controversial Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoysky, whose channel broadcasts his shows.
So far little is known about his precise policies after a campaign that capitalized on public disillusionment with the political establishment and promised to "break the system".
Moscow has been accused of militarily supporting the separatists, and Putin this month ordered an easing of procedures for Ukrainians living in the eastern separatist regions to gain Russian citizenship, a challenge to the new Ukrainian leader.
The young president is under pressure to rein in the wealthy oligarchs who wield significant influence in Ukraine, tackle widespread corruption and a stagnant economy.
He ended his remarks by saying: "Glory to Ukraine!".
Ukrainian new President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, background center, speaks to the parliament during his inauguration ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine, May 20, 2019.
Zelenskiy is hoping to ride the wave of his electoral success to get his supporters into parliament. His party now has no seats.
Elections to the Supreme Rada were scheduled for October 27, which raised the prospect of Zelenskiy struggling to enact his agenda in the face of a hostile parliament over his first few months in power.
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