Rock Star Seeks To Upstage Comedian President In Ukraine Vote | 5/16/2019 | Staff
rubydrummer (Posted by) Level 3
KIEV (Reuters) – Standing on stage in a black t-shirt, Ukrainian rock star Sviatoslav Vakarchuk turns to his massed ranks of fans and asks if they are fed up about how their country is run.

“How many of us want real change … How many of us are tired of old politics?”, he shouts out, holding his microphone in the air as the crowd cheers back in response.

Man - Band - Okean - Elzy - Plans

The 44-year-old front man of the band Okean Elzy lays out his plans to run in July 21 parliamentary elections on a platform that includes cutting oligarchs down to size, overhauling the justice system and helping innovators. Then the band launches into its set.

Vakarchuk is trying to tap into a growing anti-establishment mood in Ukraine – the same mood that brought TV comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy into the presidency in April with a landslide.

Singer - Party - Golos - Voice - May

The singer launched his own party, called Golos or Voice, in May and is touring the country ahead of the snap vote. Like Zelenskiy, he has cast himself as a change from traditional politics and an enemy of corruption and low living standards.

At stake is the chance to form the government of a country on the frontline of the West’s standoff with Russia following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. War between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatist forces in the eastern Donbass region has killed 13,000 people.

President - Zelenskiy - Servant - People - Party

President Zelenskiy’s Servant of the People party – named after the TV comedy series where he plays a fictional president – is on course to win the July vote. A recent poll suggested Vakarchuk could come as high as third, making him a potential coalition ally if Zelenskiy fails to win a majority.

Both sides say it is premature to discuss a tie-up but there is common ground. The two have an informal style and are comfortable...
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