Rock Star Vakarchuk Sets Up Political Party Ahead Of Ukraine's General Elections

Ukrainian rock star Svyatoslav Vakarchuk has announced that he is setting up a political party ahead of parliamentary elections later this year.

Vakarchuk said on May 16 that he will lead the Holos (Voice) party in the elections because parliament has “turned into a toxic swamp that drains our future.”

"We have to change that," the 44-year-old told his supporters in Kyiv, adding that his team will be united by "zero-tolerance of corruption" and would support a free economy, reject Russia's meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs, and favor closer Euro-Atlantic integration.

General elections are set to be held in late October, six months after a presidential vote in which political novice and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy defeated incumbent President Petro Poroshenko.

Vakarchuk, the vocalist of Ukraine's most successful rock group Okean Elzy and an outspoken political activist, was seen as a potential candidate in the presidential poll, but he said he was more interested in real changes in the country than in the presidency.

Vakarchuk supported the 2004-05 Orange Revolution, which was sparked by a flawed presidential vote.

He became a lawmaker in 2007 but stepped down a year later.

Based on reporting by UNIAN, Reuters, and Ukraiyinska Pravda