Ukraine’s election: comedian Selensky wins and goes in runoff with President Poroshenko

Ukraine election
:Comedian Selensky wins and goes in runoff with President Poroshenko

Vladimir Selensky

Vladimir Selensky emerged victorious from the first ballot.

Photo:

dpa

Kiev –

Political novice against incumbent: The aspiring to the EU Ukraine must decide in a runoff election on its new president. The comedian Vladimir Selensky was, according to forecasts, clear winner of the presidential election on Sunday. The 41-year-old missed the absolute majority. He must therefore in a runoff election with incumbent Petro Poroshenko. Both stand for a clear Western orientation of Ukraine. The ballot is expected on Easter Sunday (21st April).

The actor Selenski came to election polls on about 30 percent of the vote. Poroshenko landed at only 17.8 percent. Meaningful election results were expected during the night of Monday. The power struggle between the comedian and the “Schokozar”, as Poroshenko is called because of his confectionery empire, is likely to be exciting. Both sides campaign for the voters of the defeated camps.

Tymoshenko in third place

Poroshenko’s bitter opponent, ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, landed in third place with 14.2 percent of the vote.

Surveys had seen Selenski win first and second. He plays in the popular television series “Sluha narodu” – servants of the people – for years a down-to-earth and honest president. He denounces corruption, for example. In the ex-Soviet republic, many people are frustrated about the lack of progress.

39 candidates stood for election

The approximately 30 million eligible voters could choose from 39 candidates. So many applicants have never been in a vote on the most powerful position in the country. The election Sunday was largely calm. Occasionally there were allegations of manipulation.

The Russian-backed renegade regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in the war zone of Donbass did not participate in the vote. The security measures were high nationwide. Tens of thousands of emergency services were shut down to prevent incidents.

Mood test after protests on the Maidan

The poll was considered a great mood test after the pro-European protests on the Maidan, the Independence Square in Kiev, five years ago. The uprising, in which more than 100 people died, led in 2014 to the change of power. At that time, the super-rich businessman Poroshenko won after the fall of President Viktor Yanukovych in the first ballot with about 55 percent of the vote. Many people today accuse Poroshenko of not ending the war and of aggravating poverty with his policy. Around 13,000 people died in the war zone of Donbass.

In the Ukrainian capital, people gave their voice in sunny spring weather. Some had to fight with the 80 centimeters long ballot, as reporters of the German press agency observed. Voter turnout at around 15.00 local time (1400 CEST) was around 45 per cent, according to the Commission.

Poroshenko spoke of destiny

The comedian Selenski was in a good mood. “We are a democratic country. The more candidates, the better. That means more democracy, “he said at the poll. Selenski came with his wife Jelena to the polling station, where scores of journalists crowded around the candidate. “Today begins a new life – without corruption, without bribes.” Critics accuse the comedian of political inexperience, lack of plan and populism.

Poroshenko spoke of a fateful choice in the company of his wife, children and a grandson. “This election is an absolute prerequisite for our movement forward, to our membership in the EU and NATO,” he said. Poroshenko and Selensky had previously stated that they wanted to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine. In addition to the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk they also want to put the incorporated by Russia Black Sea peninsula Crimea again under Ukrainian sovereignty.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitored the election with hundreds of observers. Among other things, the OSCE had been concerned about the security situation, including for journalists. Several foreign correspondents were not allowed to enter, including reporters from EU countries. Russia had condemned an entry ban for its election observers. (AP)