Zelensky's party set for big win in parliamentary elections

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Ukrainians gave their comic-turned-president Volodymyr Zelensky a mandate to reboot the country's politics on Sunday by handing his party a record score in parliamentary elections, exit polls showed.

Zelensky's Servant of the People party - named after the sitcom he starred in before his shock presidential win in April - took 43.9 percent of the vote in Sunday's election, according to combined figures from three pollsters.

It was the highest score in a parliamentary election for any party since Ukraine gained its independence with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

The pro-Moscow Opposition Platform-For Life came second with 11.5 percent, the polls said.

The exit polls only showed results for seats assigned by party lists, which represent half of the 450-member parliament.

The rest, in which members are directly elected in their districts, will be crucial in determining how Zelensky will try to form a government.

Full, official results will be announced on Monday. Turnout when polls closed at 8:00pm (1700 GMT) was 49.7 percent.

Without a majority, Zelensky will need to form a coalition and has indicated a preference for another new political force, the Golos (Voice) party of rock star Svyatoslav Vakarchuk.

It took 6.3 percent, crossing the five percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

The result is the culmination of a stunning turnaround in Ukrainian politics and will bring a host of newcomers into parliament and government.

They will face a long list of challenges in a country heavily dependent on foreign aid and scarred by years of war with Russia-backed separatists.

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