Comedian takes landslide victory in Ukraine
KIEV, Ukraine (AP)
A comedian whose only political experience consists of playing a president on TV appeared poised to reprise the role in real life when an exit poll showed him winning Ukraine’s presidential runoff Sunday in a landslide.
Results from the exit poll after voting stations closed showed Volodymyr Zelenskiy receiving an extraordinary 73.2 per cent — or nearly three out of every four votes cast — to President Petro Poroshenko’s 25.3 per cent.
If borne out by election returns, the overwhelming victory by Zelenskiy would stand as a crushing rebuke to Poroshenko’s five years in office and a verdict on the country’s deep-seated corruption, sickly economy and grinding war against Russian-backed separatists in the country’s east that has killed over 13,000 people.
While official returns had yet to be released, Poroshenko accepted defeat, saying: “I am leaving office, but I want to firmly underline that I am not leaving politics.”
Zelenskiy, for his part, vowed after the release of the exit polls: “I promise I will never let you down.” And he suggested that his apparent victory could be a model for other former Soviet states that want to move forward from ossified politics.