Ukraine’s Poroshenko concedes defeat to comedian rival Zelenskiy in presidential vote

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Ukraine’s Poroshenko concedes defeat to comedian rival Zelenskiy in presidential vote

by - 1 min read

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is accepting defeat in the election for the country’s top post.

Shortly after exit polls showed Poroshenko getting only a quarter of the vote in Sunday’s runoff election, he said he was willing to help rival Volodymyr Zelenskiy transition into the presidency.

Zelenskiy, a comedian who plays a high school teacher who is elected Ukraine’s president on a popular TV series, has never held political office.

Poroshenko said: “I am leaving office, but I want to firmly underline that I am not leaving politics.”

Zelenskiy, 41, who comes from Ukraine’s mostly Russian-speaking east, got twice as many votes as Poroshenko in the first round of voting three weeks ago. Opinion polls showed him far ahead of the incumbent ahead of Sunday’s runoff, reflecting public disenchantment with Ukraine’s pervasive corruption and its political elite.

Poroshenko, a billionaire candy magnate before taking office, relied on traditional political barnstorming, using sympathetic television stations to extensively cover his appearances. Zelenskiy, however, largely stayed away from the campaign trail and eschewed interviews. He ran his campaign mainly on Instagram, where he has 3.7 million followers.

This story originally appeared on CBC

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