On Sunday, Darth Vader failed in an attempt to be elected Ukraine's prime minister, unable to muster the votes despite a high-profile campaign. The aspiring politician had previously been known as Viktor Shevchenko, but he had his name changed to Darth Vader and also adopted the appearance of the "Star Wars" villain.
To add insult to injury, Darth Vader was not even allowed to vote. Fully embracing his new role, he had refused to take off his mask after being asked to do so by election officials, thereby incurring their wrath. He reportedly complained: "Here is my face on the passport. Where does the law say that I have to take off my mask?" But the officials did not budge.
The episode marked the end of an campaign in which Darth Vader had prominently vowed to take on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Darth Vader is part of Ukraine's Internet Party, which has raised attention by registering its prime ministerial candidates as "Star Wars" villains.
Despite being dismissed by many opponents, some view the Internet Party's aims as legitimate. Among Darth Vader's main concerns has been the integrity of Ukraine's parliament. "When I get to parliament, I will expel all the deputies. They have proven their uselessness…. Computers will work in their place, and they will fulfill their functions without cease," Vader told the Associated Press.
Darth Vader is hardly the only one voicing such complaints. Last week, the Economist predicted:
The elections will not overhaul the system where deputies are the extensions of business interests and can be sold and traded. The new parliament is likely to be dominated by old faces wearing new masks.
The Ukrainian electoral system has been blamed for allowing people to practically "buy parliamentary mandates," and commentators expect some long-established deputies to play a significant role in the parliament, despite recent pro-Western shifts and the emergence of younger politicians.
Darth Vader will not be among them in the foreseeable future, but don't be surprised if he tries again to change Ukraine's political landscape. In May, for example, he unsuccessfully applied for the office of Kiev's mayor. Back then, he was often seen riding in a motorcycle sidecar.
For the October elections, Darth Vader changed his strategy and chose a black van to tour the streets.
Darth Vader also produced an advertisement showing him with a light saber and then kneeling down, dramatically picking up some soil.
Such videos have found a large international media echo and have helped Darth Vader gain more prominence, especially abroad, where he is better known than many of his more standard competitors.