Ukraine's Comedian President Takes Office, Says He's Dissolving Parliament
Ukraine's Comedian President Takes Office, Says He's Dissolving Parliament
Why did Israel snub new Jewish president of Ukraine?
21 May, 2019, 15:45
Ukraine's new President Volodymyr Zelensky used his inaugural speech on Monday to announce a snap election, before promising to end the country's five-year conflict with Russian Federation.
There have been disputes over whether Zelenskiy has the right to dissolve parliament, in part because the governing coalition fell apart last week in what was seen as a bid by his political foes to bar him from disbanding it.
As leader of a country dependent on global aid and battling separatists, Zelensky will have to deal with rebellious elites and deep-seated economic problems and stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In his speech, Mr. Zelensky referred to his background as a comedian.
Zelenskiy garnered 73% of the vote at the presidential election last month in a victory that reflected Ukrainians' exhaustion with politics-as-usual.
After he was sworn in but before he moved to dissolve parliament, Zelenskiy asked the Supreme Rada to adopt a bill against illegal enrichment and support his motions to fire the country's defense minister, the head of the Ukrainian Security Service and the Prosecutor General.
He takes charge at a time when the country faces numerous challenges, including a struggling economy and an ongoing war against Russia-backed separatist forces in the east that has claimed more than 13,000 lives.
"This is exactly the signal, as far as we can tell, that was central during the inauguration of Ukraine's President-elect Vladimir Zelensky", he added.
The separatist authorities have indicated that they could be ready to negotiate with Zelensky.
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Zelensky won the presidency by appealing to voters fed up with entrenched corruption and low living standards in a country that remains one of Europe's poorest almost three decades after it secured independence from the Soviet Union.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who was sworn in Monday, won a resounding electoral victory last month on pledges to end decades of corruption and resolve the deadly conflict fomented by Russian Federation after it annexed Crimea in 2014. "This is a domestic [policy] issue of Ukraine which can and must be solved by the President on the basis of..."
Ukraine's new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, paused on the way to his inauguration to take a selfie with his supporters in Kiev.
Amelie de Montchalin, France's European Affairs minister, said Paris will "support and carefully watch" the reforms announced by Mr Zelensky.
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 next parliamentary polls in Ukraine had been scheduled for October.
"I really do not want my pictures in your offices, for the President is not an icon, an idol or a portrait", he said.
Experts say that Lutsenko, who is involved in an ongoing effort by allies of President Donald Trump to accuse Ukraine of meddling in US elections in favor of Trump's rivals, has been playing politics in both Ukraine and the U.S. Parliament is still dominated by the bloc named for Zelenskiy's defeated opponent Petro Poroshenko and smaller parties founded mostly as personal vehicles for political insiders.
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