Comedian Zelenskiy keeps Ukraine presidential poll lead
Comedian Zelenskiy keeps Ukraine presidential poll lead
Comic actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy
21 April, 2019, 07:39
In an unexpected move less than 10 hours before polls were to open, a Kiev court heard a suit demanding that Zelenskiy's registration as a candidate be cancelled.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian and actor, is facing off against incumbent President Petro Poroshenko. But a lawyer and election observer from the Ukrainian Shareholders Association, Andrii Khilko, has demanded the disqualification of the candidate over alleged violations of the electoral law.
Poroshenko and Zelenskiy will meet in the second round of Ukraine's presidential election, which will take place on April 21.
On April 20, Saturday, is a pre-election silence day before the runoff of the presidential election scheduled for April 21, Sunday.
"There is a hope that a simple man will better understand us and dismantle the system that we have in our country", said Yuliya Lykhota, 29, a Zelensky supporter. Although criticized as having a vague platform, Zelenskiy has made specific proposals, including removing immunity for the president, parliament members and judges, and a lifetime ban on holding public office for anyone convicted of corruption.
After his weak performance in the election's first round, in which Zelenskiy got almost twice as many votes, Poroshenko said he had taken voters' criticism to heart.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko sings the national anthem after debates between two candidates in the weekend presidential run-off at the Olympic stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, April 19, 2019.
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On Saturday, Poroshenko once again called on Ukrainians to think twice before casting ballots for his rival.
"I do not believe he will last long once he's elected", said Sergiy Fedorets, a 62-year-old pensioner.
"Neither is it a horror movie that can be easily stopped".
Poroshenko, who is trailing in opinion polls, called a rally of several thousand people in the capital ahead of Friday's debate.
He "reiterated our commitment to working with whomever the Ukrainian people choose to ensure the success of a secure, prosperous, democratic, & free (country)", Washington's special envoy Kurt Volker said on Twitter. Zelenskiy took a sizable lead in the first round but failed to get a majority of votes.
"An actor without any experience whatsoever can not lead a war against an aggressor", an emotional Poroshenko said.
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