Roman Hryshchuk, a 29-year-old comedian and parliamentary election candidate, speaks during a meeting with voters in Kiev, Ukraine July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
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As a student, Hryshchuk worked as a stagehand on the comedy shows of the man who went on to become Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Now, he is following his showbiz role model into politics because Zelenskiy, vowing to scrub Ukraine's Parliament clean of corruption and nepotism, invited members of the public to run on his party's ticket at parliamentary elections on July 21 .UNORTHODOX CAMPAIGNINGZelenskiy won big in April by departing from traditional politics, relying on comedy gigs, being social media savvy and crowdsourcing policy ideas to climb the polls, while eschewing rallies.His team hopes to reprise that unorthodox campaign success, and bringing people like Hryshchuk on board is an example.Hryshchuk was one of around 3,500 people who applied to run for Zelenskiy's party through a specially created website.Nevertheless, no current or former lawmakers were allowed to run for Zelenskiy's party.
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