(MENAFN - UkrinForm) Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian and political novice, scored a crushing victory over incumbent Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine's runoff presidential vote Sunday, according to exit polls, in a resounding rebuke to the country's political establishment, according to the European edition Politico.eu.
The incumbent president recognized the opponent's victory. The new leader will have to deal with the pressure of society in tackling corruption, conflict stalemate and a sluggish economy.
"Zelensky's triumph was fueled by a wave of anti-establishment sentiment, similar to other populist insurgencies sweeping across the West. But the comedian, who has promised to clean house among Ukraine's ruling elite, will likely find fulfilling his supporters' high expectations difficult — not the least due to his dearth of political knowledge: His only brush with Ukrainian politics has been to play the president in a popular television show called 'Servant of the People'," the article reads.
The edition recalls Zelensky's promise to Ukrainians that he will never let them down upon hearing the exit poll results.
"His meteoric political rise is largely due to being a new face in the political arena of a country where voters have grown tired with establishment politicians, and feel frustrated about issues such as corruption, the country's unresolved war and a sluggish economy," says the author of the article, David Stern.
At the same time, the article reads that Poroshenko, a billionaire candy tycoon and one of Ukraine's richest men, was himself elected five years ago on a wave of anti-establishment sentiment, following a revolution that drove the country's pro-Moscow leader, Viktor Yanukovych, from power.
"The outgoing president can point to a number of big wins during his time in office, such as containing the Kremlin-led insurrection in the country's east, acquiring visa-free travel for Ukrainians to the EU and staving off economic collapse. But for many voters, Poroshenko has come to symbolize oligarchs' continued grip on Ukraine's economy and government," the article reads.
The report notes that Poroshenko has already announced that he is not leaving politics. Zelensky, whose inauguration will take place at the beginning of June, will also have to contend with Poroshenko's allies both in government and parliament, unless he can win a working majority in a parliamentary election later this year. As president, he will be able to make a few key appointments, such as foreign minister, defense minister, head of the state security agency and prosecutor general.
With over 96% of ballots counted in the second round of Ukraine's presidential election, Zelensky wins 73.14% of the vote, whereas the incumbent head of state, Petro Poroshenko, gets 24.53% of the vote.
The voter turnout was 62.09%.