July 18, 2019 / 6:38 PM / 5 months ago

Ukraine's president party builds support days before vote - polls

FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy holds a news conference after meeting European Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels, Belgium, June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

KIEV (Reuters) - The party of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has extended its lead over other groups, according to polls published three days before parliamentary elections.

Zelenskiy, a TV comedian with no previous political experience, took the presidency in April on a platform of promising to crack down on corruption and lift living standards.

He is now hoping his Servant of the People party - named after the TV series in which he played a fictional, honest graft-fighting president - can give him control of parliament after Sunday’s vote.

Surveys by the Razumkov centre non-government think-tank and the pollster Reiting showed his party with the support of 40.2% and 41.8% of voters - up from the 36.5% and 37.3%, respectively, recorded by the same pollsters in late June and early July.

The surveys show the next biggest party - the Opposition Platform party, which promotes restoration of ties with Russia - largely holding its ground through July with between 8.8% and 12.1%.

European Solidarity, the party of the previous president, Petro Poroshenko, was also hovering between 6.5% and 6.8%.

The bulk of the extra support heading to Zelenskiy appeared to come from a cluster of smaller groups that sank down the rankings.

Following is a table showing the percentage support for leading parties among voters planning to take part in the election in recent polls.

The table does not include parties that are not expected to exceed the 5 percent threshold for winning seats in parliament.

Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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