Ukraine's Comedian President Takes Office, Says He's Dissolving Parliament

Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy greeds supporters before his inauguration ceremony in Kiev Ukraine

Groysman spoke after the newly-sworn in President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced earlier that he was dissolving parliament in preparation for a snap election after two months.

Ukraine's new president, a comedian before he turned to statecraft, made a dramatic entrance to the political stage Monday, disbanding parliament minutes after his inauguration.

He ditched the idea of a traditional motorcade to his inauguration, walking to the parliament through a park packed with people. Flanked by four bodyguards, the beaming president-elect gave high-fives to some spectators, even stopping to take a selfie with one of them. It was a stunning result for the political novice, whose previous experience in government is nearly entirely fictional: On Ukrainian TV, Zelenskiy is famous for playing a high school history teacher who is elected as Ukraine's president after a video of him ranting against the status quo goes viral. The party is named after a television series in which Mr Zelensky stars as a schoolteacher who becomes president after a rant against Ukraine's political establishment goes viral.

Zelenskiy begins his term in office without a parliamentary majority, a fact that will make it hard for him to pass reforms.

Ukraine is due to hold parliamentary elections in the fall, but Zelenskiy's decision to dissolve parliament would move these up by several months.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by former presidents of Ukraine - Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma, Viktor Yushchenko, Petro Poroshenko, former parliament speakers, government representatives, Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko, representatives of churches and foreign guests.

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Zelenskiy called on lawmakers to adopt bills that would strip them of immunity and ban illegal enrichment.

The next elections for the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's single-house parliament, were scheduled to take place in October.

In his speech, Zelenskiy said his priority is ending the war with Russia in Ukraine's east that has killed over 13,000 people since 2014, and he continued the conciliatory message for Russian-speaking Ukrainians that he had offered in his campaign.

But Zelenskiy's team has said it considers the claim that the faction's exit makes it impossible to dissolve parliament is invalid, since the coalition in practice has not existed for years. "But we need to be the one to finish it". If parliament accepts his resignation, he will remain as a caretaker prime minister until the snap election. "It wasn't us who started that war".

Addressing the people of Ukraine, Zelenskiy finished his inaugural speech by saying, "All my life I tried to do all I could so that Ukrainians laughed. Now I will do all I can so that Ukrainians at least do not cry any more".

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