Ukraine hands President Zelenskiy’s party a majority: polls

Servant of the People — a new political party created by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy — has gained nearly half the vote in Sunday’s parliamentary election. Experts say his party could “achieve a dominating position.”

Initial projections released shortly after polls closed in Ukraine’s parliamentary election on Sunday put President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s new political party, Servant of the People, in the lead with 44% of the vote.

The 41-year-old comedian-turned-president has convinced voters of his platform, which includes negotiating a political solution to the eastern Ukrainian conflict, boosting the economy and cracking down on corruption.

“Our main priorities — and I repeat this for every Ukrainian — are to end the war, return our prisoners and defeat the corruption that persists in Ukraine,” Zelenskiy said late Sunday, responding to exit polls.

“Right now, he and his party have high ratings,” Ukrainian politics expert Volodymyr Fesenko, who leads the Penta Center of Applied Political Studies, told German news agency dpa. “His party has the potential to achieve a dominating position in the new parliament.”

Read more: How Volodymyr Zelenskiy beat Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine

Reaching for absolute majority

It remains unclear whether Zelenskiy’s Servant of the People may need to form a coalition with one or more parties to govern.

Petro Poroshenko gestures during a press briefingPoroshenko lost the two-round presidential elections earlier this year

Nearly 200 of the 424 seats in Ukraine’s parliament are filled by directly elected candidates, while the rest are voted in through party lists.

Former President Petro Poroshenko’s rebranded European Solidarity party picked up 8.9%, while former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland party garnered 7.6%.

Golos, the newly-formed party of rock star Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, won 6.3% of the vote, while the pro-Kremlin Opposition Platform-For Life received 11.5%.

Ex-entertainers eye coalition

Zelenskiy has already signaled he is willing to discuss a coalition with Vakarchuk if Servant of the People falls short of the majority.

“We invite Mr. Vakarchuk to talk,” Zelenskiy said at his election headquarters.

Vakarchuk said it was “too early” to talk specifics but added that he was “ready for talks with other political forces that have the same principles as us.”

Full official results are expected to be released on Monday.