As comedian eyes presidency, Ukraine braces for uncertain future

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Zelensky, a political newcomer who plays a school teacher that is elected president on a Ukrainian TV show, won 72.7 percent of the vote over Poroshenko's 27.2 percent to secure a landslide victory in the second and final round of voting.

The result of the election, in which Mr Zelensky roundly defeated incumbent Petro Poroshenko, "shows a clear demand for a new approach to solving Ukraine's problems", Mr Medvedev wrote on his Facebook page.

Declaring victory at his campaign headquarters to emotional supporters, Mr. Zelenskiy promised he would not let the Ukrainian people down.

From Ukrainian-speaking regions in the west of the country to Russian-speaking territories in the war-torn east, many voters said they feared uncertainty but yearned for change.

Zelenskiy, a native of the industrial southeastern city of Kriviy Rih, carried every region of Ukraine but Lviv in the west, a cradle of Ukrainian nationalism where Poroshenko beat him by almost 30 percent. Forty-one-year-old leader victory will open a new chapter in the history of a country that has gone through two popular uprisings in the last 20 years.

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The third season of Zelensky's show, "Servant of the People", aired this northern spring and includes scenes of a prosperous, corruption-free Ukraine in the aftermath of the Zelensky character's presidency.

Zelensky will also have to demonstrate his ability to negotiate with various political forces to push through much-needed reforms.

"I think the top election issue is frustration with the status quo", said Mary O'Hagan, Ukraine Resident Senior Director of the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

Poroshenko, a billionaire candy magnate before taking office, has relied on traditional political barnstorming, using sympathetic television stations to extensively cover his appearances. This indicates the first predictions of a exit poll announced after the end of the vote.

Ukraine is dependent on worldwide aid and Russian energy and the next president will have to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the global Monetary Fund.

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Like Poroshenko, Zelenskiy pledged to keep Ukraine on its pro-Western course, but said the country should only join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation if voters give their approval in a referendum.

Allow us to express our appreciation for the strong attachment to democracy and the rule of law that the people of Ukraine have demonstrated throughout the electoral process. Zelensky, which won the election through his TV image as a president who severely punishes corrupt officials, may soon find that there is an insurmountable gap between governing the country and role-playing, There might be little wiggle room for him in handling internal affairs. "The main thing is that Ukrainian people recognize the", Matviyenko said.

But many feel the country's ruling elite have forgotten the promises of the revolution.

Zelensky has shunned campaign rallies in favour of comedy gigs and used social media to share political messages, including to 3.7 million followers on Instagram.

His brand of outsider politics and unorthodox style has earned him comparisons to Italy's comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo and US President Donald Trump. Poroshenko supporters credit him with rebuilding the army and securing an Orthodox Church independent of Russian Federation. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called both Zelensky and Poroshenko on the eve of the run-off vote.

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