The Rise of an “Outsider” President

Issue Date July 2019
Volume 30
Issue 3
Page Numbers 33-47
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In May 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky was inaugurated as Ukraine’s sixth president. A political novice best known as a comic actor, he had garnered over 73 percent of the vote in the April run-off election. While Zelensky’s inaugural address left little doubt that he would continue to position himself as a political outsider and disruptor of the system, it remains to be seen whether his actions will be as bold as his words. As the country heads into parliamentary elections, the coming months will be a crucial test of Ukraine’s democracy, the resiliency of its still fragile institutions, and its dedication to continuing reforms.

About the Authors

Joanna Rohozinska

Joanna Rohozinska is senior program officer for Europe at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

View all work by Joanna Rohozinska

Vitaliy Shpak

Vitaliy Shpak is program officer for Europe at the National Endowment for Democracy. 

View all work by Vitaliy Shpak

Image Credits: Sergei Chuzavkov/Shutterstock; homepage: Presidency of Ukraine/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images