In landslide win, former TV comedian Zelenskiy to lead Ukraine
The governor of the only Ukrainian region where comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy did not win the vote in the presidential election has resigned.
April 22, 2019 - 4:31 am
KIEV, Ukraine — The governor of the only Ukrainian region where comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy did not win the vote in the presidential election has resigned.
Oleh Synyutka, head of the Lviv state administration, said at a local government session that he is resigning from his post. He did not provide a reason.
Zelenskiy, who is projected to win 73% of the vote in the presidential election, has won in all Ukrainian regions except for Lviv incumbent leader Petro Poroshenko has got most of the vote.
It was not immediately clear who will succeed Synyutka but it is in the president’s powers to appoint regional leaders.
France and Germany, which have led diplomatic efforts to defuse the conflict in eastern Ukraine, are congratulating Zelenskiy on being elected as president.
They are underlining their support for reform and their commitment to Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said Monday that he spoke with Zelenskiy and restated his readiness to work alongside Germany in the so-called “Normandy format,” which also involves Ukraine and Russia, to help resolve the conflict between Kiev and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Germany and France brokered a 2015 peace accord with Ukraine and Russia to stop the fighting, but the deal is far from implemented. There has been no recent summit between the four countries’ leaders.
In a separate message to Zelenskiy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed her interest in stabilizing Ukraine and a peaceful resolution to the conflict, along with reforms to the judicial system, decentralization of Ukraine and fighting corruption.
The European Union is congratulating Zelenskiy on his election as Ukrainian president, pledging strong support for his plans to reform the country and fight corruption.
In a joint letter to Zelenskiy on Monday, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council chief Donald Tusk said the political novice can “count on the EU’s continued and steadfast support of Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”
Juncker and Tusk wrote that “you can count on the EU’s strong support to Ukraine’s reform path, including consolidating the rule of law, fighting corruption, maintaining macro-financial stability and pursuing the essential reform of the energy sector.” And they said that further implementation of a Ukraine-EU association agreement could be a “crucial instrument” in achieving that.
Zelenskiy, a TV actor, trounced incumbent Petro Poroshenko in Sunday’s election.
Even with a landslide win in Ukraine’s presidential election to give him a powerful mandate for change, Zelenskiy has daunting challenges ahead.
The simmering, deadly conflict in eastern Ukraine and the conundrum over Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea are likely to dominate the agenda of the man who up until now has only played the president in a TV sitcom. Zelenskiy, a Russian speaker from central Ukraine has promised to step up efforts to re-integrate the east back into Ukraine’s fold but has offered no details on how he is going to do that.
A political novice, 41-year-old Zelenskiy will also have to face off against Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has ruled his country for nearly two decades, if he wants to mend relations with Ukraine’s neighbor.