Zelenskiy calls for May 19 inauguration, may consider Rada dismissal

13 May 2019

President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy called upon the president and his loyal MPs to cease their alleged efforts to delay inauguration day and organize the ceremony to be held on May 19. “So far, you are active exclusively in your own interests, fearing a dismissal of the Rada and dragging out the inauguration date,” he said in a video appeal published on May 10. “While you cling to your mandates, former President Poroshenko is doing the irreversible. He is actively reshuffling the army’s higher command, trying to install its head of the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine, and appointing judges to the Supreme Court, among them a lawyer for Roshen, judges (against) the Maidan, and relatives of Serhiy Kivalov.”


As its response, the Presidential Administration denied trying to delay inauguration, insisting that the transfer of power is “a complicated and responsible process.” The statement repeated the president’s invitation to meet together to discuss the transfer of responsibilities and authority.


The “Komanda Zelenskoho” Facebook page published a video on its page calling for the president-elect to dismiss parliament. It featured interviews with average Ukrainians, who voice their support for parliament’s dismissal. The video’s host said Zelenskiy will personally view the video once it gets a million views.


Zenon Zawada: Zelenskiy is actually benefiting from inauguration being delayed because it gives him more time to form his team and program. Spreading the narrative that the current administration is resisting the transfer of power works even further to his advantage. But indeed the longer Zelenskiy’s opponents delay his inauguration, the more restricted his legal capabilities are in dismissing parliament and calling early elections, a move that improves his chances to field a powerful faction to support his reforms. We don't expect inauguration to occur until May 26, at the earliest. A Poroshenko Bloc MP has even submitted legislation calling for a June inauguration.


It’s apparent the Zelenskiy administration will be actively using Internet media, particularly social networks and YouTube videos, to influence public opinion and drawing support for its initiatives. In the case of the early elections video, it appears as though the public wants a particularly initiative (which could very well be the case), when it’s truly the Zelenskiy team that is promoting it. While this is a novelty currently, Zelenskiy’s rivals will further develop staff and technologies to compete with him (which they have already begun to do). In the end, what will matter is his trust among the public (currently high), the popularity of his proposals (currently high), and his ability to fulfill them (currently low).

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