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Ukraine set to elect comedian as next president

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:05s - Published < > Embed
Ukraine set to elect comedian as next president

Ukraine set to elect comedian as next president

Ukrainians fed up with entrenched corruption and hungry for change are likely to elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian with no previous political experience, as their next president in a run-off vote on Sunday.

Francesca Lynagh reports.

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Ukraine set to elect comedian as next president

As Ukraine heads to the polls on Sunday, the spotlight is - as ever - on candidate and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The 41-year-old plays a fictitious president in a popular TV series.

But it may soon become a reality.

He came out on top of a recent opinion poll with 72 percent of the vote.

And in last month's first round of the election, he won nearly twice as many votes as the incumbent President Petro Poroshenko.

In recent weeks, the two main candidates have goaded each other in a series of videos… (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, PETRO POROSHENKO, SAYING: ''Man up, come to the debates.

We agreed on stadium, I am waiting." (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AND COMEDIAN, VOLODYMYR ZELENSKIY, SAYING: "I am addressing Petro Poroshenko.

You call me for a debate, dreaming that I would run away, ignore, hide.

No, I am not you in 2014." In a bizarre twist, the comedian also called for both candidates to undergo a drugs test - to which Poroshenko obliged.

Zelenskiy's rise fits a pattern of political insurgency across many parts of the world, From the election of President Donald Trump in the United States, to Brexit, to the Five Star Movement in Italy that was also propelled by a comedian.

Fed up with corruption - voters in Ukraine are hungry for change too.

Zelenskiy has pledged to keep Ukraine on a pro-Western course and has also assured investors that he would push reforms, tackle corruption and keep the economy anchored to an International Monetary Fund loan program.

However, Poroshenko maintains that the TV personality is just a buffoonish lightweight, whose victory would push Ukraine back into Russia's orbit.

(SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, PETRO POROSHENKO, SAYING: "Being a president and Commander-in-Chief is not a game, it is not a popularity contest." Poroshenko hopes to close the gap at the last moment if voters opt for a familiar face rather than a leap into the unknown.



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