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Ukrainian Constitutional Court OKs Parliament's Dissolution, Early Elections

Updated

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy

KYIV -- Ukraine’s Constitutional Court has ruled that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's order to dissolve parliament and call early elections is legal.

An official statement released by the court on June 20 said 16 judges had ruled on the matter and that the decision "is binding, final, and cannot be appealed."

The president's administration celebrated the court decision, writing on its Telegram channel, "Victory: Zelenskiy's decree on the dissolution of the [parliament] was recognized as constitutional!"

Zelenskiy spokeswoman Iuliia Mendel added in comments to RFE/RL that the administration found the decision "fair."

Mendel said the move to dissolve parliament was "not the demand of [the] president, this is the demand of the Ukrainian people."

"Trust [in] the parliament was only 4 percent and people want to see [a] new parliament," she added.

Zelenskiy issued a decree on May 21 -- a day after his inauguration -- to dissolve parliament and declared that a new chamber will be elected on July 21.

However, some lawmakers defied Zelenskiy, declining to discuss his proposed changes in electoral legislation and appealing to the Constitutional Court to overturn his decree.

While those lawmakers claimed to oppose the move because of its supposed unconstitutionality, analysts said they did so because polls suggested their parties would not reach the 5 percent vote threshold to win seats in the chamber if early elections were called.

Besides the parliament being among the least trusted institutions, Zelenskiy and his Servant of the People party wanted early elections to capitalize on the wave of support the president received as a candidate.

A Rating Group poll released on June 19 showed the party had the support of 47.1 percent of people who planned to vote, putting him within reach of winning a parliamentary majority.

The poll had the pro-Russian Opposition Platform in second place at 11.1 percent and rock star Svyatoslav Vakarchuk's Voice party in third place at 8.1 percent. Fatherland, the party of the former prime minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, came fourth at 7.3 percent, while former President Petro Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party finished fifth and just on the cusp of entering parliament with 5 percent.

A comedian and actor with no previous political experience, Zelenskiy beat Poroshenko by a landslide margin in an April 21 presidential runoff.

The country of 44 million faces deep-seated corruption, economic challenges, and a simmering war in eastern Ukraine.

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