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November 19, 2019
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Ukraine president dissolves parliament, calls fresh polls

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has dissolved Ukraine’s parliament and called fresh poll on July 21 this year.

After the dissolution of the parliament, the new president appointed Andriy Bogdan as head of his presidential administration. The lawyer has ties to one of Ukraine’s richest men and a former president.

Both Zelenskiy and Bogdan, a lawyer, have close ties to Ihor Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s richest men. Kolomoisky has been in a long legal battle with Ukrainian authorities over control of PrivatBank, the country’s largest lender.

When the tycoon was a regional governor in 2014, Bogdan had worked as to him. He had also appeared in the court on behalf of the tycoon in the PrivatBank case.

Kolomoisky, who owned PrivatBank until 2016, claims its nationalization that same year was illegal. Although a Kyiv court ruled in the tycoon’s favor in April, the country’s central bank has appealed the ruling.

The central bank claims that to reverse the process would put a $3.9 billion (€3.5 billion) loan program from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at risk as well as negatively impacting investor confidence.

Zelenskiy, a 41-year-old former comedian with no political experience, has brushed off claims that he would favor Kolomoisky or offer him compensation in the PrivatBank case. The two men have longstanding business ties.

Zelenskiy was swept to power in late April in a run-off election against incumbent Petro Poroshenko on the promise to end business as usual in Kyiv and fight corruption.

Poroshenko came to office in 2014 offering the same, yet voters and outside observers say he was slow to act on those promises.

For Andriy Bogdan, the new post will not be his first in government. He previously served as deputy minister of justice and deputy minister in charge of anti-corruption policy under Viktor Yanukovich before the former president fled to Moscow during the Maidan uprising in 2014.