Wednesday 16 August 2017

'Darth Vader' goes to polls in Ukraine and wants to turn state into 'galactic empire'

A candidate (R), presenting himself in the character of
A candidate (R), presenting himself in the character of "Star Wars" villain Darth Vader and representing the Internet Party of Ukraine which runs for parliament, stands on the top a vehicle as he leaves after a meeting with his supporters and voters in Kiev, October 22, 2014
A candidate (R), presenting himself in the character of "Star Wars" villain Darth Vader and representing the Internet Party of Ukraine which runs for parliament, stands on the top a vehicle as he leaves after a meeting with his supporters and voters in Kiev, October 22, 2014
A candidate, presenting himself in the character of "Star Wars" villain Darth Vader and representing the Internet Party of Ukraine which runs for parliament, gestures in front of a crying boy during a meeting with his supporters and voters in Kiev, October 22, 2014
A candidate, presenting himself in the character of "Star Wars" villain Darth Vader and representing the Internet Party of Ukraine which runs for parliament, stands on the top a vehicle as he leaves after a meeting with his supporters and voters in Kiev, October 22, 2014
A candidate (C), presenting himself in the character of "Star Wars" villain Darth Vader and representing the Internet Party of Ukraine which runs for parliament, stands on the top a vehicle as he leaves after a meeting with his supporters and voters in Kiev, October 22, 2014
A candidate, presenting himself in the character of "Star Wars" villain Darth Vader and representing the Internet Party of Ukraine which runs for parliament, poses for a picture during a meeting with his supporters and voters in Kiev, October 22, 2014

A candidate in Ukraine's parliamentary elections hopes the force will be with him in the polls.

Dressed in full Star Wars regalia, Darth Alekseyevich Vader prowls the streets of Kiev atop his black campaign van wooing voters with promises to turn Ukraine into a "galactic empire".

So serious is he about his mission that he even legally changed his name to Darth Vader ahead of the elections - he was previously known as Viktor Shevchenko.

The electrician insists his Internet Party is serious business.

Flanked by Stormtroopers and shrouded in white fumes, Vader explained that his top goal is to computerise all government business.

"When I get to parliament, I will expel all the deputies. They have proven their uselessness," he said. "Computers will work in their place and they will fulfil their functions without cease."

Pollsters predict the party, which also includes a Stepan Chewbacca on its list, has little chance of getting into parliament in Sunday's vote. Still, the public greets Vader enthusiastically when he drives around the capital atop his van - which he refers to as "my helicopter".

Despite his pledge to enhance transparency, Vader declines to ever show his own face. That got him banned from voting in May presidential elections by electoral commission workers who said he was violating voting rules.

Vader is not shying away from the thornier issues.

To the ominous backdrop of the Imperial March theme from Star Wars, he thundered from the top of his van that he would win the war against separatist rebels in the east. And he vowed to reclaim the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in March.

How will he achieve these feats?

"A military space station will be built," he said, "that will protect the whole territory of Ukraine."

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