Zelenskiy, 41, early lead in Ukraine

A comedian with a popular anti-corruption message but no political experience took the lead in the first round of Ukraine's presidential election
Zelenskiy, 41, early lead in Ukraine
01 April 09:23 2019 Print This Article

 

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a fictional president in a popular TV show, has secured 30.4 percent of votes compared to Poroshenko’s 17.8 percent.

Tymoshenko, who had won 14.2 percent, immediately challenged the accuracy of the result, saying her internal polling put her in second place behind Zelenskiy. She said at a press conference that she might contest the final result.

At stake is the leadership of a country on the front line of the West’s standoff with Russia after the 2014 Maidan street protests ejected Poroshenko’s Kremlin-friendly predecessor and Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula.

No candidate is expected to receive more than half the votes, meaning the election would go to a run-off on April 21. Out of a crowded field of 39 candidates, none of the likely winners wants to move Ukraine back into Russia’s orbit.

Investors are watching to see if the next president will push reforms required to keep the country in an International Monetary Fund bailout program that has supported Ukraine through war, sharp recession and a currency plunge.

“A new life is beginning, a normal life, a life without corruption, without bribes — life in a new country, the country of our dreams,” Zelenskiy said.

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