Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a 41-year-old television actor, won a landslide victory in the Ukrainian presidential election Sunday, with exit polls showing he received about 73% of the vote in the final round -- nearly three times as many as his rival, the incumbent Petro Poroshenko.
Conceding defeat Sunday evening, Poroshenko offered his congratulations to Zelenskiy, and added, "I will leave the office, but I want to announce firmly: I will not leave politics."
Zelenskiy combined a slick social media campaign with his image as an outsider, capitalizing on a swell of public anger at the old Ukrainian politics of cronyism and corruption.
Critics highlight Zelenskiy's ties to exiled oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, who is accused of bank fraud and who owns the 1+1' TV channel that broadcasts his show.
Zelenskiy has pledged to continue Ukraine's pro-Western path, five years on from Russia's forceful seizure of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine.
Poroshenko is expected to hand over power next month, giving the comedian who played the president on TV a shot at the real thing. It is a big step into the political unknown and an indication of how desperate Ukrainians are for change.
Source : VOA