April 12, 2019 / 7:11 AM / 3 months ago

Factbox - Policies of Ukraine's presidential frontrunner Zelenskiy

(Reuters) - Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a 41-year-old comedian with no prior political experience, is the frontrunner to become Ukraine’s next president.

FILE PHOTO: Comic actor and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks following the announcement of the first exit poll in Ukraine's presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine March 31, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

His team is seeking to assure investors that he will maintain economic stability, accelerate reforms and tackle corruption.

The following is a selection of his policies. The information is based on Reuters interviews with Zelenskiy and his economic adviser Aivaras Abromavicius, as well as public statements from his campaign.

IMF PROGRAMME

* Stick with Ukraine’s IMF programme for as long as the country needs it.

* Lobby parliament to lift moratorium on the sale of farmland, another IMF-backed initiative.

* No clear policy on whether to allow gas prices to rise to market levels, an important IMF demand. Zelenskiy told Reuters Ukraine’s heating tariffs were still too high for many citizens. Abromavicius said: “We have had a very warm winter and a very warm spring in Europe, so gas prices have come down, so pressure to increase prices domestically might not be as serious as previously thought.”

* Zelenskiy would not help oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky win compensation or regain control of PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest lender, which the government wrested from Kolomoisky’s control in 2016 and nationalised.

FIGHTING CORRUPTION

* Overhaul of law enforcement bodies.

* Strip law enforcement bodies of powers to investigate economic crimes and prevent them harassing businesses.

* Strip president, lawmakers and judges of legal immunity.

* Change laws to enable the impeachment of a president.

* Ensure honest judges are appointed to a special court to try corruption cases.

* Work with international experts to reintroduce a law that criminalises illegal enrichment by officials.

ECONOMIC POLICY

* Tax amnesty, allowing people to declare previously undeclared assets provided they pay a 5 percent tax on them.

* Switch to taxing firms on withdrawn capital rather than profits. The IMF has been sceptical of such a plan in the past but Abromavicius said: “The IMF position is very simple. You can do whatever you want but a decline in immediate tax collection needs to be compensated with other cuts in expenditures.”

* Maintain independence of central bank and keep the current governor in place.

DIRECT DEMOCRACY

* Hold referenda on big issues, including whether Ukraine should join NATO.

ENDING CONFLICT IN EASTERN UKRAINE

* Invite the United States and Britain to join peace negotiations.

Reporting by Matthias Williams, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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