Comic vows not to let Ukraine down as president

Comic vows not to let Ukraine down as president

Soon after the preliminary results were released, Poroshenko acknowledged defeat in a tweet, pointed out that the voting result was fair and just, and congratulated Zelensky on his election as the new president.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (L) and challenger Volodymyr Zelensky (R) are both hoping to win on Sunday.

"We did it together", he told reporters and a crowd that gathered at his campaign headquarters after the announcement on Sunday.

Ukrainians looked to the future with hope and anxiety after Zelensky took 73 percent of the vote, according to almost complete official results. The fighting in Donbass was initiated by the current government and the candidate promised to do everything to end the war when in office.

From Ukrainian-speaking regions in the west of the country to Russian-speaking territories in the war-torn east, many voters said they feared uncertainty but yearned for change.

As leader of a country dependent on worldwide aid and battling separatists, Zelensky will have to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, deep economic problems and possibly rebellious elites.

Zelensky's victory would open a new chapter in the history of a country that has gone through two popular uprisings in two decades and is mired in a five-year conflict with separatists in the east. "How did it turn out that Ukraine is the poorest country with the richest president?"

Zelensky will also have to demonstrate his ability to negotiate with various political forces to push through much-needed reforms. "Because I am against Poroshenko", said the pensioner who refused to give her last name.

The EU also has sanctions in force against Russian Federation over its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.


Polls suggest Volodymyr Zelensky has won by a landslide.

Ukraine readied Saturday for a change in leadership as a young comedian appeared set to crush his incumbent rival in presidential polls, delivering a stinging rebuke to the old elite.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted his congratulations, adding cautiously: "Ukraine is a valued NATO partner and we look forward to continuing our cooperation".

BBC reports that Zelenskiy secured more than 73% of votes while Poroshenko fell behind with 24%. "The enrichment of the people turned out to be enrichment of his people", Zelensky said.

Promises like those appear to be giving Ukraine's vibrant civil society, long frustrated by Poroshenko's perceived foot-dragging on many issues related to the fight against corruption and law and justice, some reason for hope.

But a victory for Zelenskiy would be a dramatic departure for a country whose previous presidents since its 1991 independence have been experienced politicians, including three former prime ministers.

Zelensky has shunned campaign rallies in favour of comedy gigs and used social media to share political messages, including to 3.7 million followers on Instagram.

Despite attempts by opponents to portray him as being soft on Russia, Ukraine is expected to continue on a pro-western path with Volodymyr Zelensky as president, seeking strong ties with the United States, Britain and other European states. Poroshenko supporters credit him with rebuilding the army and securing an Orthodox Church independent of Russian Federation.

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