Ukrainians gave their comedian-turned-president Volodymyr Zelensky a mandate to reboot the country’s politics on Sunday by handing his party a record score in parliamentary elections, exit polls showed.
Zelensky’s Servant of the People party — named after the sitcom he starred in before his shock presidential win in April — took near 42 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election as only about half of the votes were counted.
The outcome marks the highest score in a parliamentary election for any party since Ukraine gained its independence with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
It’s closest competitor, the pro-Moscow Platform-For Life party, came in second with 12.8 percent, the polls said, returning ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin Viktor Medvechuk to the Ukrainian parliament after more than a decade.
Four other parties — including one openly supported by the Kremlin — passed the five percent threshold to enter the assembly, the results showed
At 49.8 percent, the turnout was the lowest of any election in Ukraine’s post-independence history.
The exit polls only showed results for the half of seats assigned by party lists. The rest, in which members are directly elected in their districts, will be crucial in determining how Zelensky will try to form a government.