Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, largely known for the leading role in Netflix film “Servant of the People” was declared the winner of Ukraine’s presidential election, according to exit polls. He defeated the pro-Western incumbent President Petro Poroshenko in the second and final round of the election.
Zelensky, a no-politician by any means, won 72.7 percent of the vote over Poroshenko’s 27.2 percent to secure a shocking lead over the opponent. Speaking to his supporters, Zelensky said in a video shared on his Facebook page: “I want to thank you all for being with us all these four months. We united Ukraine, we united our lives, we united our people.”
The 41-year-old Zelensky was one of 39 candidates running for president, but secured his victory in the first round by getting 30 percent of the vote to Poroshenko’s 17.
Despite a busy election cycle, Zelensky continued to act as a stand-up comedia. He was fined by police for violating Ukrainian voting regulations because he displayed his ballot to cameras while voting on Sunday.
In a Sunday evening speech, Poroshenko conceded but vowed to remain in politics and prevent Russia from returning the Ukraine to its “orbit of influence” after the election of a “new inexperienced Ukrainian president.”
“As one of the key political leaders in Ukraine, I will remain at Ukraine’s service and will keep championing EU and NATO integration agenda, decentralization, security and anticorruption reforms,” he said to his supported to their applause.
The president-elect said he plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to attempt to settle the conflict between the two countries but vowed to “never sacrifice” Ukraine’s territories and people. There have been suspicions about Zelensky being dangerously pro-Moscow, chiefly due to the fact that his popular TV show fails to mention the conflict and the fact that Crimea and eastern part of Ukraine is occupied by Russia.
“The integrity of Ukraine should be constant,” Zelensky said to deny the allegations.
His platform also strongly promoted the message of fighting corruption and pledging to strip the president lawmakers and judges of legal immunity.
“I am not a politician,” Zelensky said. “I am just a simple person who has come to break down the system.”