KIEV, Ukraine—"Things here often start with great hopes and end in great disappointments. But this time, I get the impression things could change," said Nikolai Savitsky, a 54-year-old businessman, outside a polling station in the Ukrainian capital on Sunday evening. A few hours later, at the campaign headquarters of the Servant of the People party, the first exit polls from parliamentary elections were greeted with popping champagne corks. This young party won well over half the 424 seats up for grabs in the Verkhovna Rada, the country's parliament. It now forms Ukraine's first-ever ruling majority.
Servant of the People is aligned with Volodymyr Zelensky, who won a landslide presidential election in April. The charismatic Zelensky, a comedian with no prior political experience, ran on an anti-establishment platform that resonated with Ukrainians tired of poverty and the war in the Donbass.