Servant of the People (political party)
|Founded||2 December 2017 (formation)|
31 March 2018 (registered)
|Preceded by||Party of Decisive Change|
|Political position||Big tent|
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Servant of the People (Ukrainian: Слуга народу, romanized: Sluha Narodu) is a big tent Ukrainian political party which was officially registered at the Ministry of Justice on 31 March 2018. The party is named after the eponymous Ukrainian hit TV series Servant of the People made by the TV production company Kvartal 95 (Квартал-95). At the time Kvartal 95 created the party, they claimed it was important to do so to prevent others from stealing the name of the eponymous series for "cynical political purposes". Legally, the party is the successor of the Party of Decisive Change (Ukrainian: Партія рішучих змін) that existed since April 2016.
In late December 2018, Volodymyr Zelensky was declared a presidential candidate from the party at the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election. While lagging behind in January 2019, Zelensky began to lead the polls by March. He would go on to win the first round of the presidential elections, taking first place and moving on to the run off against incumbent President Poroshenko on 21 April 2019, winning the election with over 73% of the votes cast. Zelensky stated that the party would not enter a coalition government with the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, nor with Opposition Platform — For Life.
On 2 June 2019, the registration of potential candidates to run for the party in majority constituencies during the (then set to be held on 21 July 2019) 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election ended.
The party held its first congress on 9 June 2019. It took place in Kyiv's Hryshko National Botanical Garden and was attended by President Zelensky and party leader Razumkov, among others. During the congress the first names of the party's majority constituency candidates and the 97 candidates of the nationwide closed party list were made public. Well-known names in the nationwide party list are: Olympic athletes Olha Saladukha, Vadym Gutzeit and Zhan Beleniuk and long-term CEO of 1+1 Media Group Oleksandr Tkachenko. Three days later Gutzeit and two other candidates had withdrawn themselves from the election, whilst a fourth was excluded from the list "after additional checks". During the post-primaries, press and activists highlighted the most controversial representatives of the party, such as Oleksander Dubinsky and Max Buzhanskiy. Both of them were not withdrawn from the final list of the party after the registration deadlines.[nb 1]
The party excluded seven candidates from its list on 7 July 2019; five candidates were removed “as a result of information submitted [to the party] via the website and chat bot”, whilst two others requested to be removed from the list, including the No. 31 candidate. On 19 July 2019, the leader of the Movement of New Forces party Mikheil Saakashvili called on his supporters to vote for the Servant of the People party at the parliamentary election.
In the 2019 parliamentary election, several members of the political party UKROP (a party that has openly been supported by Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi) won constituency seats as candidates for Servant of the People (the two parties had no formal allegiance). The top ten party candidates were Dmytro Razumkov, Ruslan Stefanchuk, Iryna Venedyktova, Davyd Arakhamia, Halyna Yanchenko, Mykhailo Fedorov, Oleksandr Kornienko, Anastasia Krasnosilska, Oleksandr Tkachenko and Zhan Beleniuk. The party won 124 seats on the nationwide party list and 130 constituency seats.
Ideology and positions
On 23 May 2019, Ruslan Stefanchuk, Zelensky's representative in the Verkhovna Rada, announced that the party had chosen libertarianism as its core ideology. On 3 June 2019, however, the head of the party's election office, Oleksandr Korniyenko, claimed "Go 20km or 100km out of Kyiv and nobody will understand the issue of ideology there, who is right, left or centre here. The party will have its manifesto on its website, it will explain everything." After Oleksandr Kornienko was elected to head the party early November 2019 he stated that the then party ideology of "libertarianism" will be changed which was "needed to find a compromise within the party." He claimed that the new party ideology "will be something between liberal and socialist views."
In the election program for the 2019 parliamentary election the party stated "We will introduce the most favored regime for foreign investors of Ukrainian origin". It also promised to introduce "a mechanism for withdrawing deputies who have lost the confidence of the voters". The program also puts forward a number of direct democracy and anti-corruption proposals. The party has also vowed to expand Ukraine's cooperation with the European Union and NATO. The party also claimed that its key goal is to achieve a higher than average European income and quality of life for Ukrainians.[nb 2]
Early July 2019 the number 2 of the election list of the party, Ruslan Stefanchuk, stated that he believed that the Ukrainian language should be promoted (the so-called "Ukrainization") but should be promoted "quite mild" and that "one needs to fight for the language providing quality." "Neither by bans, nor by persecution, but by quality. When the Ukrainian content becomes more interesting and offers a higher quality, then we will have an absolutely another attitude. Meanwhile, the state should work out all mechanisms for that," he said.
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- On 21 June 2019 Ukrainian media reported that a businessman who had been a suspect in various embezzlement cases was a candidate for the party in a majority constituency.
- In an interview in April 2019, party leader Zelensky stated that he supported the free distribution of medical cannabis, was a supporter of free abortion in Ukraine and would like to see the legalisation of prostitution and gambling in Ukraine. He spoke out against the legalization of weapons. None of these ideas were to be found in the party election program for the 2019 parliamentary election. The program instead promises to legally regulate the right to own weapons.
- "Oleksandr Kornienko becomes new Servant of the People Chairman". 112.international. November 10, 2019. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
- "Lawyer Zelensky has registered a new political party "Servant of the people" (in Ukrainian). UNIAN. 3 December 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- "The boundary of a joke. As Zelensky prepares for the election" (in Ukrainian). Ukrayinska Pravda. 25 October 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- "Party of Decisive Change" changed its name to "Servant of the people" (in Ukrainian). Left Bank. 2 December 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- "Comedian who plays Ukraine's president on TV leads real race". The Lowell Sun. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- Bershidsky, Leonid (10 January 2019). "This Comedy Star Wants to Be Ukraine's Donald Trump". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- Minich, Ruslan (19 February 2019). "How Ukraine's Leading Comedian Pulled Ahead in Polls". Atlantic Council. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- "Zelensky names fighting corruption, raising investment as priorities". Kyiv Post. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- "The Ministry of Justice registered the party "Servant of the people" (in Russian). Ukrainian News Agency. 26 April 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- CEC counts 100 percent of vote in Ukraine's parliamentary elections, Ukrinform (26 July 2019)
(in Russian) Results of the extraordinary elections of the People's Deputies of Ukraine 2019, Ukrayinska Pravda (21 July 2019)
- "Zelensky: Party "Servant of the people" goes into politics" (in Ukrainian). Interfax-Ukraine. 26 December 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- "Clown show: Stand-up comic enters Ukrainian presidential race... and could win". RT News. 2 January 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- "'Parallel universe': The front-runner seeking to be Ukraine's president plays one on TV". The Washington Post. 9 March 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- "Results of 2019 Ukrainian Presidential Election". Central Election Commission of Ukraine. 31 March 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- "Results of 2019 Ukrainian Presidential Election". Central Election Commission of Ukraine. 31 March 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
- "Vladimir Zelensky: It is beneficial for us to dissolve the Rada, but we will think and act according to the law" (in Russian). RBC Ukraine. 18 April 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- "Клони атакують Зеленського. У Кривому Розі на виборах зареєструвалося кілька "слуг народу"". glavcom.ua.
- "Лещенка не взяли у список партії "Слуга народу"". glavcom.ua.
- "Servant of the People party to hold congress on June 9". www.ukrinform.net. Retrieved 2019-06-09.
- Перша сотня партії Зеленського: без «95 кварталу», з олімпійськими чемпіонами і ЗеКомандою. glavcom.ua (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2019-06-09.
- Із першої сотні “Слуги народу” вилетіли три кандидати. Українська правда (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2019-06-12.
- Екс-заступник міністра оборони передумав іти в Раду від "Слуги народу". Українська правда (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2019-06-12.
- "New faces of president Zelensky's Servant of the People party". 112.international. Retrieved Jul 22, 2019.
- "Центральна виборча комісія - Вибори народних депутатів України 2019". www.cvk.gov.ua. Retrieved Jul 22, 2019.
- The media found in the lists of "Servants of the people" candidate Majoritarian, who was repeatedly tried. glavcom.ua (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2019-06-21.
- "Партія "Слуга народу" викреслила з виборчого списку 7 кандидатів". www.unian.ua. Retrieved Jul 22, 2019.
- "Саакашвілі закликав прихильників віддати голоси за "Слугу народу"". LB.ua (in Ukrainian). 2019-07-19. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
- "Партійці Коломойського в обгортці "Слуги народу" (in Ukrainian). Deutsche Welle. 24 July 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
- "Party list of the Servant of the People". Central Election Commission of Ukraine. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
- "The party "Servant of the People" announced its list for the elections" – Партія "Слуга народу" оголосила список на вибори" (in Ukranian). LB.ua. 9 June 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
- Партия Зеленского выбрала своей идеологией либертарианство [Zelensky's party chose libertarianism as its ideology]. meduza.io (in Russian). Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- Master of improvisation, The Ukrainian Week (23 June 2019)
- "Партия Зеленского выбрала своей идеологией либертарианство". Meduza.io. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
- (in Ukrainian) "The "servant of the people" will change the ideology into something between the liberal and the socialist". Ukrainska Pravda. 12 November 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
- З якими обіцянками «Слуга народу» йде на вибори: 16 пунктів програми. glavcom.ua (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2019-06-09.
- ПЕРЕДВИБОРНА ПРОГРАМА ПОЛІТИЧНОЇ ПАРТІЇ «СЛУГА НАРОДУ». LB.ua (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2019-06-12.
- "Ukrainization should be 'quite mild' – Zelensky's envoy to Verkhovna Rada". Interfax-Ukraine. 2 July 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.