Comedian Volodomyr Zelenskiy leads first round of Ukraine Presidential Elections
Jason Melanovski and Clara Weiss
2 April 2019
With 95 percent of the ballots counted, comedian Volodomyr Zelenskiy emerged as the clear front-runner in first round of Ukraine’s Presidential elections which took place on Sunday. According to Ukraine’s Central Election Committee, Zelenskiy led the first round with 30.2 percent of the vote. Current president and “chocolate oligarch” Petro Poroshenko finished second with 15.9 percent, and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko placed third with 13.4 percent of the ballots cast.
Approximately 63.4 percent of voters took part in the election. Zelenskiy and Poroshenko will now move to the run-off elections to be held on April 21.
The presidential election campaign took place under conditions of an extraordinary political and social crisis, with the Poroshenko regime whipping up an atmosphere of war hysteria. Before the official start of the election campaign, the Poroshenko regime provoked a confrontation with Russia in the Azov Sea and then used it as a pretext to declare martial law in several regions of the country.
In the weeks prior to the elections, far-right thugs from the Azov Battalion, which was elevated to a major role in Ukrainian politics through the coup in 2014 and is now associated with Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, violently attacked Poroshenko’s office in Kiev, and forced the president to flee his own campaign event.
Zelenskiy won the most support in the central and southern regions of the country, while Poroshenko performed best in the western Ukraine, which is traditionally the stronghold of Ukrainian nationalism. Yuriy Boyko, candidate of the Opposition For Life Party led in the eastern regions of the country…