A comedian who plays Ukraine's president on TV is leading polls in the country's actual presidential race
AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
- With five weeks to go until Ukraine's March 31 presidential election, actor Volodymyr Zelensky is leading the polls.
- Zelensky, 41, stars in the popular TV show, "Servant of the People," in which he plays a teacher who is elected president of Ukraine.
- While Zelensky is a lawyer and a businessman, he has no actual political experience.
- He describes himself as "very liberal," and wants tackle corruption and speak directly with Putin about the war in Eastern Ukraine.
A comedian who plays Ukraine's president on TV is learning the polls in the country's presidential race.Volodymyr Zelensky, 41, stars in the popular TV show, "Servant of the People," in which he plays a history teacher who is elected president after his anti-corruption run goes viral.Advertisement
And now, with five weeks to go until Ukraine's March 31 presidential election, Zelensky is the frontrunner, despite not having any actual political experience.
He describes himself as "very liberal," and Bloomberg reports that he launched his a populist campaign on January 1, to coincide with the president's New Year's address.A recent poll suggests that Zelensky has more support than other candidates, including incumbent, Petro Poroshenko, and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
The nationwide poll showing Zelensky lending the presidential race surveyed 2,000 people and was conducted in early February by Ukraine's Razumkov Center.It showed 17.5% would vote for Zelensky, 13.1% for Poroshenko, and 11.5% for Tymoshenko.Read more: The US Navy has sent another ship into the Black Sea, where Ukraine is preparing for another Russian attackAdvertisement
Aside from being an actor and comedian, Zelensky is a lawyer and businessman.
His approach to campaigning is unique. He doesn't hold rallies, according to NBC News, and instead sells tickets to comedy gigs in which he parodies his competition. He also uses Facebook and YouTube to share behind-the-scenes videos.If he is elected as president, Zelensky will have to face ongoing tensions with Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014, as well as a crumbling economy and widespread corruption.Advertisement
Zelensky has said he wants to tackle corruption and speak directly with Putin about the war in Eastern Ukraine.
When asked in December if he could imagine negotiating with President Donald Trump in the future, Zelensky was unfazed."We are both from he same industry after all," he joked.Advertisement
After he announced his presidential run, Zelensky faced criticism from Poroshenko's supporters, who called him a "clown" and accused him of devaluing the presidency, Bloomberg reported.
Others accused him of being a puppet for oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, whose lawyers have denied the claims.
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