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Comedian set to win round one of Ukraine election

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:07s - Published < > Embed
Comedian set to win round one of Ukraine election

Comedian set to win round one of Ukraine election

Ukrainians exhausted by five years of war and decades of official corruption look set to send a comedian with no political experience into a second round runoff against the incumbent when they vote in Sunday's presidential election.

Mia Womersley reports

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Comedian set to win round one of Ukraine election

Exhausted by five years of war and decades of corruption... Ukrainians look set to send a comedian with no political experience into a second round run-off in Sunday's (March 31) presidential election.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy plays a scrupulously honest president in a top TV series in the country.

Now he's gearing up to become the real thing - having tapped into an anti-establishment mood among voters.

Polls suggest he'll be up against incumbent Petro Poroshenko, the former confectionary magnate depicted here with sweet wrappers and bullet casings.

And the final outcome is too hard to predict.

Also in the running is the face of the 2004 Orange revolution - Yulia Tymoshenko.

With her former peasant hair braid and combative style, she could also take on the comic in round two.

Promising to lower gas prices, lift pensions and emphasising her past as a revolutionary martyr imprisoned by two presidents.

Either way, it looks set to be a clash of the old and the new.

So why is this vote globally significant?

Well western governments have much at stake in the election.

That's because they took Ukraine's side in its conflict with Russia.

And have invested money - and serious political capital - to continue Kiev's integration with the West.

Poroshenko was elected president in 2014 - soon after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region.

And Russian-backed separatists staged an uprising in east Ukraine that has killed 13,000 people and still rumbles on.

Many credit Poroshenko with containing the conflict and standing up to Russia.

But that he has failed to get to grips with corruption and poverty.

Zelenskiy's predicted chances are proof of a wave of popular anger sweeping Ukraine.

Similar to the ones that brought the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement to power in Italy and U.S. President Donald Trump to office.

A March poll revealed just 9 percent of Ukrainians have confidence in their national government, the lowest of any electorate in the world.



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