(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s new leader started a two-month countdown to snap parliamentary elections as the TV comedian-turned-politician tries to consolidate power after his rapid rise to power.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who won a landslide victory in April’s presidential runoff, issued a decree Tuesday setting the ballot for July 21. He was only sworn in the previous day, but with no representation in the legislature, immediately dissolved the assembly, dismissing opposition from parts of the ruling coalition.
After holding consultations with lawmakers, he said the main reason for the move is “a very low level of trust among Ukrainian citizens in this institution.”
A comic who plays a fictional president on television, Zelensky’s rise was largely down to his lack of political baggage in a country that’s suffered for decades from widespread corruption. His goals include ending the war with Kremlin-backed fighters that broke out after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. His party, named Servant of the People after his popular show, currently leads polls.
Zelenskiy also urged parliament’s speaker to convene an emergency session on Wednesday to make changes to electoral legislation. He wants single-seat constituencies abolished and the threshold for parties to enter the assembly lowered to 3% from 5%.
Also Tuesday, Zelenskiy made his first appointment, replacing Viktor Muzhenko with Ruslan Khomchak as chief of the general staff, according to a decree on the presidential website.
--With assistance from Kateryna Choursina.
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