Politics, Europe

Ukraine inaugurates Volodymyr Zelensky as president

Zelensky announces he is dissolving parliament during his swearing-in

Ali Cura   | 20.05.2019
Ukraine inaugurates Volodymyr Zelensky as president

KIEV 

Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky officially assumed office as Ukraine's president Monday after winning last month’s elections.

Zelensky called for snap parliamentary polls during his inauguration ceremony at the parliament building in Kiev.

"I am dissolving the Verkhovna Rada [parliament]," he said during his swearing-in.

The ceremony was attended by heads of state, presidents of parliament and ministers from various countries.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay also attended the ceremony to represent Turkey.

After the inauguration ceremony, President Zelensky accepted congratulations at Mariyinsky Palace, the official ceremonial residence of Ukraine’s president in Kiev.

Oktay offered congratulations on behalf of himself and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“This is not my own but our common victory,” Zelensky said during his swearing-in.

He said ending the war in eastern Ukraine was his top priority.

“We didn’t start this war, but it’s up to us to finish it.”

Underlining that Ukraine is ready for dialogue with Russia, he said: “I'm convinced that for this dialogue to start, we must see the return of all Ukrainian prisoners."

“Our first task is to achieve a ceasefire in Donbas. Crimea and Donbas are territories of Ukraine,” Zelensky said, referring to the eastern territories occupied by Russian-backed rebels.

Zelensky also said he was not afraid to make difficult decisions and was ready to lose his post if necessary for peace.

He also expressed his readiness to do anything to make sure that Ukrainian heroes will not die anymore.

Zelensky also called on MPs to pass a number of important laws in the next two months including on the abolition of parliamentary immunity, the imposition of a penal code against unjustifiable enrichment and an amendment to the electoral law.

According to the Ukrainian Constitution, the country's parliamentary elections must be held within 60 days after the president’s dissolution of parliament.

Zelensky won runoff elections on April 21 by a landslide according to exit polls.

As a candidate of the Servant of the People party, he secured 73.2% of the vote, while his rival, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, received 25.3%.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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