Sat, 21 Sep 2019

Live Blog: Ukraine Chooses A New President

22 Apr 2019, 09:17 GMT+10

02:12 'An Electoral Maidan': Hope And Change, Ukrainian-Style, Vaults Zelenskiy Into Presidency By Carl Schreck

In the end, it was a demand for radical change and broad disappointment with the incumbent that vaulted a comedian who played Ukraines president on television into the real thing.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy rode these sentiments, political analysts and sociologists say, to what was shaping up to be an unprecedented landslide victory over President Petro Poroshenko in the countrys April 21 runoff vote.

The absolute majority of Ukrainians again, just as they did five years ago, want radical political change. In that sense, this was a kind of Maidan -- but an electoral one, Ukrainian political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko told RFE/RL, referring to the central Kyiv square at the heart of the 2013-14 protests that helped oust Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych and paved the way for Poroshenkos election.

SEE ALSO: Comedian Zelenskiy Appears To Get Last Laugh With Landslide Victory In Ukraine's Presidential Poll Exit polls and early ballot counts overnight gave Zelenskiy, a 41-year-old political novice, more than 70 percent of the vote, putting him on course for the largest margin of victory in a presidential poll in the history of modern Ukraine.

'These are very atypical data. As a rule, our elections were very competitive and such a result, such a margin, has never been seen, sociologist Natalya Kharchenko told Current Time, the Russian-language network led by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA, following the release of the first exit polls.

Poroshenko, a two-time cabinet minister and 53-year-old confectionery tycoon seen as a compromise candidate in 2014, campaigned this time on his record as a wartime leader during the five-year conflict with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 13,000.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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