Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. File photo: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. File photo: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich.

Ukraine's president signs decree for snap elections on July 21

By By Peter Spinella Time of article published May 21, 2019

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Kiev - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on Tuesday to immediately disband the national parliament and hold snap elections for the legislature on July 21.

"The main argument for dissolving the Verkhovna Rada is an extremely low trust of Ukrainian citizens in this institution," Zelensky said at a meeting with the legislature's leadership.

Zelensky, sworn in as president this week, called for the Verkhovna Rada to be disbanded in his inauguration speech. Many members of the legislature have connections with the former president.

Zelensky claimed on Tuesday that he has the authority to disband the legislature because "since 2016 there has been no coalition." The measure has not encountered significant resistance.

The prime minister and the foreign minister, both allies of the former president, have announced they are resigning in a gesture of respect to Zelensky.

The 41-year-old was previously a television actor who came to fame playing a fictional president on a popular television show, "Servant of the People."

Having never before held political office, Zelensky campaigned as an alternative to an establishment that has long struggled with entrenched corruption.

He won the run-off election against former president Petro Poroshenko last month with about three-quarters of the votes.

Poroshenko, swept to power by a pro-Western revolution five years ago, led Ukraine through its toughest post-Soviet period, marked by a pro-Russian separatist rebellion in the country's east.

Amid the conflict, which has claimed about 13,000 lives, according to UN estimates, Poroshenko appeared slow in enacting reforms promised in his rise to power.


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