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      By Emerging Markets Debt TeamEaton Vance Management

      Boston - Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, the reformer who rode to victory on a strong wave of discontent last April, had his mandate strengthened in dramatic fashion with Sunday's parliamentary elections. With nearly 90% of the vote counted on Monday, preliminary results show that Zelensky's party, Servant of the People, had garnered an absolute majority - the first time in modern history that Ukraine will have single-party rule, with no need for a coalition government.

      Zelensky is a political outsider widely known for a career in show business, first as a comedian and recently, as star of a popular TV series in which he plays president. However, he has received far less publicity as an entrepreneur who created the most successful content production company in Ukraine, and was subsequently invited to run a major TV station.

      With control of the legislature, Zelensky will be in a strong position to make good on promises to curb corruption and poverty. He will be able to secure his choice not only for prime minister, but other key roles such as chief prosecutor and head of secret service. Zelensky has made it clear that the prime minister should be "a very professional economist ... a completely independent person" from outside politics.

      The election results build on the impressive achievement of Ukraine's presidential election - another competitive contest that unseated a sitting president, in a peaceful transfer of power with low reported irregularities. In this weekend's election, Servant of the People Party displaced the Solidarity bloc of former president Petro Poroshenko.

      Zelensky has promised to continue Ukraine's west-leaning course, despite pressure from Russia. The unified government will undoubtedly be a source of strength for Zelensky, especially when Russian President Vladimir Putin decides to test his mettle.

      Zelensky has already converted one group of skeptics: analysts and investors. The street was skeptical of him earlier in the year, but is now almost entirely bullish, and Ukraine assets are rallying as a result.

      Bottom line: If Zelensky can leverage his popularity and the backing of the legislature to tackle corruption, this could be a real opportunity for reform in Ukraine.