Ukraine Elects Comedian as President

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An exit poll from Ukraine's presidential election is giving comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy a commanding lead over incumbent Petro Poroshenko.

"I think it just can not get any worse and I hope he'll live up to his promises", she told AFP.

"I'm not yet officially the president, but as a citizen of Ukraine, I can say to all countries in the post-Soviet Union look at us".

If polls are correct, he will be elected for a five-year term.

The Ukrainian leader attacked the inexperience of the untested Zelensky, questioning his ability to be a wartime commander-in-chief and saying he would not be able to stand up to Russia's Vladimir Putin.

"People have gone mad", said Viktoriya Olomutska, a 39-year-old Poroshenko supporter in Kyiv. "It's impossible to survive on this salary, prices have increased like insane, and we were promised something totally different".

Zelensky ran, in essence, a kaleidoscope campaign-Ukrainian voters projected their dislike and anger at the failures of the Poroshenko administration to make good the promise of the Maidan uprising, how he has handled the situation with Russian Federation, and the painful economic adjustments Ukraine has had to make to obtain financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund and to fulfill the criteria of the EU Association Agreement-onto a candidate with no clear platform of his own.

Zelenskiy's victory is widely seen as a rebuke of the status quo, a response to perceived corruption within the political establishment, and a reflection of malaise over the lackluster economy and ongoing conflict with Russian Federation in eastern Ukraine. "There's a lot of risk here". "There can not be so many fools in the country", she fumed.

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Germany has been a key broker in the conflict between Kiev and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, negotiating with France the now moribund Minsk peace accords.

What Zelenskiy's victory will mean for Ukraine's ongoing conflict with Russian Federation is an open question. The government wrested PrivatBank from Kolomoisky as part of a banking system clean-up backed by the International Monetary Fund, which supports Ukraine with a US$3.9 billion loan programme.

William Taylor, a former USA ambassador to Ukraine who co-leads a National Democratic Institute delegation of worldwide observers, said the election result would have an impact around the world.

But many voters brushed those fears aside amid intense dissatisfaction with their current leadership.

One of the most important and early tests of that promise will be the fate of PrivatBank, Ukraine's largest lender, which was nationalised in 2016. Poroshenko supporters credit him with rebuilding the army and securing an Orthodox Church independent of Russian Federation. His slogan: "Army! Language!"

"Everyone was not voting for Zelenskiy, but against Poroshenko".

The exit poll indicated Zelenskiy trounced incumbent President Petro Poroshenko. Mr Zelenskiy asked during a high-stakes debate before the weekend. "Our number one task is to get all of our prisoners of war back", Zelenskiy said. "Who's there to vote for?" Dzhurynska said. "We'll lose Ukraine with Zelensky", she added, and broke into tears.

He shunned traditional campaign rallies, instead performing comedy gigs, and implied he would use the same unorthodox style to run the country of 45 million that depends on global aid.