Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE) -Ukrainian comic Volodymyr Zelensky has won the presidency in a landslide victory over incumbent leader, Petro Poroshenko. Poroshenko has conceded defeat but says he will not leave politics. It is the latest episode in a worldwide series of defeats by established political parties.
The high turnout in the second round of the presidential election in Ukraine reveals an enthusiasm for the promise of change brought by Zelensky. He’s leading with some 72-74 percent of the votes, according to the latest exit poll figures. Incumbent President Petro Poroshenko secured only around 25-28 percent of votes, suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of Zelensky.
According to RT, in the spirit of the entire election, and to technically observe the rules, preliminary polls masqueraded as reports on preferences between two alcoholic drinks. Those gave - quite accurately - Zelensky an overwhelming victory with 70 percent of votes, with Poroshenko in turn scoring some 30 percent.
Zelensky, a professional comedy actor, scriptwriter and producer, comes to power in Ukraine on the wave of disillusionment with Poroshenko’s failure to tackle corruption and a sharp decrease of living standards in Ukraine over the past five years. His campaign was built on a promise to break down a corrupt system of oligarchic power in Kiev. Part of his appeal was rooted in a character he played in a TV series – a school teacher who accidentally became the head of state and chose to act as a servant of the people.
Zelensky’s campaign apparently outmaneuvered that of Poroshenko’s, culminating in the comedian’s idea to turn the public debate into a massive show hosted at a Kiev stadium. The Friday debate sealed Zelensky’s lead, despite the incumbent’s attempts to portray his opponent as a Moscow stooge and a puppet of oligarch Igor Kolomoysky. There is no reason to believe that Zelensky is a Moscow stooge.
By securing the presidential office Zelensky’s political party – called ‘Servant of the People’ after his own TV show – gets a head start in the upcoming parliamentary election, scheduled for October. He will need to secure a support base in the legislature to be able to implement his policies. A failure to do so may would make him a figure head president.
Many voters hope that Zelensky will be able to end the war with the break away regions in the Donbass. But to do this he will face resistance from neo-fascist groups who show no signs of quietly leaving the public scene. He will also have difficulty in conducting any sort of independent foreign policy free of United States influence.