Contributor Perspectives

Ukraine's Jester Is the Presidential Front-Runner. Seriously

Linas Jegelevicius
Board of Contributors
Mar 29, 2019 | 05:15 GMT
An employee of a printing plant in Kiev, Ukraine, checks ballots on March 21, 2019. Ukrainians choose their next president on March 31.

An employee of a printing plant in Kiev checks ballots ahead of Ukraine's presidential election on March 31. If opinion polls are correct, comedy star Volodymyr Zelenskiy will be the leading name checked.

(SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine's presidential election is just a few days away, but its observers are still scratching their heads. The March 31 contest's clear front-runner is a television comedian named Volodymyr Zelenskiy. For the army of analysts watching the race and the formidable rivals running in it, namely incumbent President Petro Poroshenko and former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, Zelenskiy has proved a tough nut to crack. Zelenskiy brazenly announced his presidential bid on New Year's Eve on the 1+1 TV channel as the clock ticked away the last minutes of 2018, and as other channels were broadcasting Poroshenko's New Year's speech. Many viewers thought Zelenskiy was making just another one of his singular jokes, but the joker was serious this time. And disgruntled Ukrainian voters appear to be taking him seriously, too. Recent opinion polls suggest the 41-year-old comedian-turned-maverick of Ukrainian politics could soon become in real life what he plays on television: Ukraine's...

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