ALL NEWS

Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky takes big lead in Ukraine elections

Apr 1, 2019, 6:12 AM | Updated: 6:12 am

(CNN) — Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky took the lead in the first round of national elections, according to preliminary results released by the country’s Central Election Commission Monday.

With just over 60% of the result of Sunday’s vote tallied, Zelensky, a television comedian and political newcomer who is widely seen as a protest candidate that appeals to younger voters, has 30.4% of the votes cast.

“I would like to say ‘thank you’ to all the Ukrainians who did not vote just for fun,” he said in an appearance posted online by US-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Sunday.

Zelensky will be hoping that life imitates art as he stars in “Servant of the People” — a Ukrainian television series now carried on Netflix — as a down-and-out schoolteacher who unexpectedly becomes President of Ukraine.

If he does not pass a 50% threshold to win the vote outright, Zelensky faces a second-round runoff on April 21, possibly against incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who came in second place with 16.4% of the vote. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko won 13.1%, according to the preliminary results.

Poroshenko addressed younger voters on Twitter Sunday.

“I would like to appeal to the young generation separately today,” wrote Poroshenko. “You see changes in the country, but you want them to be faster, deeper and more qualitative. I understood the motives of your protest. I heard you.”

“It is up to you, Ukrainians, to decide which course the country will take, who will be the supreme commander, who will represent Ukraine in international meetings with Western leaders, and in conversations with Moscow,” he added.

Ukrainians went to the polls on Sunday after five years locked in a proxy war with Russia. In 2014, Russian troops annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, and Moscow fueled a separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.

The United Nations estimates that, as of February 15, the fighting has claimed almost 13,000 lives, with at least 3,321 civilian deaths and an estimated 9,500 combatants killed.

Poroshenko campaigned on his ability to play tough with Russia. In a statement last week on Twitter, he cast Russian President Vladimir Putin as his main opponent.

“When asked who is my ally, with whom I am ready to unite and coordinate my actions, I answer: my ally is the Ukrainian people,” he tweeted Tuesday. “Who is my opponent? I am not ashamed to say it openly — this opponent is Putin.”

While Zelensky has pretty much no political experience he has built a business empire, mainly in entertainment, estimated to be worth tens of millions.

And although some say his policies lack depth, Zelensky has chosen some reform-minded technocrats to make up his team of advisers.

Chief among them are former finance minister Oleksandr Danylyuk; former economic development and trade minister Aivaras Abromavicius; lawmaker and anti-corruption campaigner Sergii Leshchenko; and Vyacheslav Klimov, co-owner of Ukraine’s successful express delivery company, Novaya Pochta.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

A lone American flag waves in the morning breeze Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2002, at the Bonneville Salt F...

Allessandra Harris

Water may be the solution to saving the salt flats

With the Bonneville Salt Flats eroding, newly discovered research may have found a way to save them.

7 hours ago

pay gap...

Curt Gresseth

Why is the gender pay gap not closing?

The gender pay gap in the U.S. and Utah is not closing. A Utah financial planner details the impact that wage shortfall can have on a women workers over a career.

8 hours ago

kevin and michael bacon performing, they'll stop in utah in June...

Sam Herrera

Kevin Bacon to stop in Utah this summer with Bacon Brothers band

Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael will stop by Utah this June to take part in Lehi's Round-Up concert as the Bacon Brothers band.

9 hours ago

fighter jet...

Sam Herrera

High-altitude balloon intercepted over Utah

After intercepting the balloon over Utah airspace, NORAD found that the balloon didn't pose a threat but said that they would keep tracking it.

10 hours ago

a rending of what a MLB baseball stadium in salt lake would look like...

Adam Small

Utah House committee advances bill aimed to help bring MLB stadium to Salt Lake

Utah residents are excited, and concerned, about the advancement of a bill meant to get a Major League Baseball stadium to Salt Lake City.

10 hours ago

jeff hunt speaks to a class about public access to government...

Amanda Dickson

The public would have less access to government records under proposed law

A bill that tackles public access to government comes after state AG Sean Reyes denied KSL access to his daily calendar.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky takes big lead in Ukraine elections