An update to our earlier reporting – Exit polls at 8pm local time show that Mr Volodymyr Zelenskiy has won the first round of Ukraine’s Presidential Election.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy – who played the president on TV – received 30.4% of the vote, with current President Petro Poroshenko second on 17.8%.
You may recall that we told you a few weeks ago about a funny story in Ukraine where a known television comedian who had risen to fame for playing the country’s president in a satirical TV-show, had decided to join the race for president.
At the time, international observers thought it was a joke and widely expected that current President Poroshenko would easily get re-elected, whilst facing some stiff competition from known opposition politician and former Prime Minister Ms Yulia Timoshenko.
However today, as the polls opened for the first round of the Presidential election, the actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy is still leading the pack.
Just as in the French and Brazilian presidential election, the two front runners after today’s first round (assuming that no one will garner more than 50%) will battle it out in a second round winner takes all system.
He rose to fame by playing a history teacher in a comedy show (called Servant of the People) who rises to fame after an expletive laden rant in which he complains about the country’s corrupt political system goes viral.
He then becomes, at least in the comedy show, the country’s new President. The hit show is currently in his third season. On new year’s day of this year, just before President Poroshenko gave a speech with his New Year’s wishes, Mr Zelenskiy broadcast a 30-second video clip on TV, announcing that he would indeed run for President.
He’s been leading the polls ever since, with all political commentators expecting him to drop soon.
But now, 41 year old Mr Zelenskiy aims to turn his satirical TV-show into reality. Exit polls show that he just might do that. In a country of 44 million, that would be a serious blow to classic politicians.