Ukraine Elections 2019: Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky Wins Presidential Vote
Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky has scored a landslide victory in Ukraine’s presidential election.
With nearly all ballots counted in the run-off vote, Volodymyr Zelensky, 41, had taken more than 73% with incumbent Petro Poroshenko trailing far behind on 24%.
He told celebrating supporters: “I will never let you down.”
Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev commented in a Facebook post that Russia wants Volodymyr Zelensky to show “sound judgement”, “honesty” and “pragmatism” so that relations can improve. Russia backs separatists in eastern Ukraine.
He said he expected Volodymyr Zelensky to “repeat familiar ideological formulas” that he used in the election campaign, adding: “I have no illusions on that score.
“At the same time, there is a chance to improve relations with our country.”
Petro Poroshenko, who admitted defeat after the first exit polls were published, has said he will not be leaving politics.
He told voters that Volodymyr Zelensky was too inexperienced to stand up to Russia effectively.
Ukraine Elections 2019: Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy Is Front-Runner Ahead of First Round
Volodymyr Zelensky, a political novice, is best known for starring in a satirical TV series Servant of the People, in which his character accidentally becomes Ukrainian president.
The comedian told reporters he would “reboot” peace talks with the separatists fighting Ukrainian forces and volunteers in the east.
He said: “I think that we will have personnel changes. In any case we will continue in the direction of the Minsk [peace] talks and head towards concluding a ceasefire.”
There are sporadic skirmishes and the situation also remains tense around Crimea, annexed from Ukraine by Russia in 2014.