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Chewbacca arrested, Emperor Palpatine wins in bizarre Ukrainian elections

Ukraine's Internet Party, which has been adding levity and subtle satire to the country's tense politics for a few years now, is making a statement with sci-fi again. Yes, this is all true.

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Eric Mack Contributing Editor
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Eric Mack
2 min read
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When this Wookiee failed to produce ID on his way to vote for his bud, Darth Vader, he was detained but later released and ordered to pay a fine.

Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

Bitter old rivalries from the Star Wars universe apparently don't apply when it comes to the political strategies of Ukraine's Internet Party.

Darth Sidious, aka Emperor Palpatine, was reportedly just elected to a seat on the city council of Odessa, Ukraine's fourth largest city. And not even the arrest of Chewbacca on Election Day could stop it.

Bizarre as it sounds, this is all nonfiction. Videos from multiple angles like the one below have been popping up online in the last 24 hours of someone in a full Chewbacca costume being arrested for violating a law in Ukraine that forbids campaigning on Election Day. Who was the Wookiee campaigning for? Darth Vader, of course.

Ukraine's Internet Party has been adding a bit of levity and subtle satire to the country's tense politics for a few years now. While the party, which has claimed at least 11 million members,
has had little electoral success until now, it actually has a rather serious platform centered on its call to implement an electronic government.

Last year, candidate Darth Vader was denied a bid to run for the country's presidency on grounds that his application was "questionable" and potentially forged. This year, Vader made himself a candidate for mayor of Odessa.

Results from the country's elections, held Sunday, won't be officially announced for a few more days. But some Ukrainian news outlets are reporting early tallies showing Vader's "colleague" Emperor Palpatine actually has won a seat on the city council with over 54 percent of votes.

If this is the same Palpatine who's been involved in Internet Party politics in Ukraine in recent years, it's probably Dmitry Viktorovich Fisinchuk, who has recently worked as a trainer at a gym owned by another Internet Party member, according to The Interpreter, an online publication dedicated primarily to translating media from the Russian press and blogosphere into English.

But what happened to the Wookiee? The unidentified man was arrested while trying to drive candidate Vader to the polls (so weird, right?) after failing to produce identification. The court slapped him with a $170 (about £110, $AU234) fine, which he reportedly said he was unable to pay because all his cash is tied up in galactic banks without branches or ATMs on Earth.

Is anyone else thinking the Internet Party might just be exactly what the current presidential race in the US needs? Polls show Darth Vader would actually have a shot here -- maybe Transhumanist Party candidate Zoltan Istvan is looking for a running mate? Despite his past transgressions, I think the Sith certainly qualifies as a transhumanist.