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Ukraine comedian's campaign strategy is no joke

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Ukraine comedian's campaign strategy is no joke

Ukraine comedian's campaign strategy is no joke

Ukraine's presidential candidates took drug tests on Friday in a gripping tit-for-tat rivalry between incumbent Petro Poroshenko and popular TV comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

David Doyle reports.

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Ukraine comedian's campaign strategy is no joke

Ukraine's last two presidential candidates underwent drug tests on Friday (April 5) - the latest installment in a gripping tit-for-tat rivalry between TV comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy and President Petro Poroshenko.

The pair are in a run-off after neither gained a majority in the first round of elections last Sunday (March 31), though Zelenskiy, who plays a fictional president in a popular series, won nearly twice as many votes.

It was he who demanded the drug tests.

That plot twist was a condition he demanded after Poroshenko challenged him to a debate at Kiev's main football stadium.

Zelenskiy has been accused of being a puppet for the wealthy businessman on whose TV channel he appears and Poroshenko's campaign had hinted the comedian would avoid a live confrontation over policy.

(SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AND COMEDIAN, VOLODYMYR ZELENSKIY, SAYING: "You call me for a debate, dreaming that I would run away, ignore, hide.

No, I am not you in 2014." That's a reference to the last election when Poroshenko did not hold debates.

But the incumbent is fighting back, accusing his rival of being a lightweight.

(SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, PETRO POROSHENKO, SAYING: "Being a president and Commander-in-Chief is not a game, it is not a popularity contest." That said, Zelenskiy does command considerable popularity online.

His Instagram account has 3.3 million followers - more than Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Theresa May and Guiseppe Conte combined.

And it's at the heart of what his aides say is an unorthodox campaign that's torn up the playbook.

(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) HEAD OF ZELENSKIY DIGITAL TEAM, MICHAEL FEDOROV, SAYING: "Our task and all that we do in general is not to be like everyone else.

It is very important for us." That's seen Zelenskiy shun rallies and leafleting in favor of the internet.

His campaign also encourages young supporters to show social media videos to their elders in a bid to reach those who may be less internet savvy.

They're hoping such tactics will be enough to secure victory in Ukraine's voting finale on April 21.




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Ukraine&apos;s presidential candidates took drug tests on Friday in a gripping tit-for-tat rivalry between incumbent Petro Poroshenko and popular TV comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy. David Doyle..

Credit: Rumble     Duration: 02:03Published

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