JRL NEWSWATCH: “Will a Comic Actor Become Ukraine’s Next President? Why Volodymyr Zelenskiy Won the First Round of Elections” – Foreign Affairs/ Melinda Haring

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… Front-runner Volodymyr Zelenskiy, an inexperienced 41-year-old comic television actor, came out on top, with even higher numbers than predicted. … 30 percent …. Incumbent … Poroshenko came in second with just under 16 percent. … fac[ing] off in a second-round runoff on April 21. … Poroshenko gets solid marks as a wartime president, but the economy is barely growing. Petro Poroshenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.govAt the beginning of his presidency, the government moved against graft, mainly in the gas sector, but the fight stalled. Efforts to reform the judiciary by rebooting the Supreme Court failed. … foreign direct investment has remained flat. According to the … IMF[], Ukraine … [is] the poorest country in Europe … [in] GDP per capita …. At least two million Ukrainians have moved to Europe to look for work. …. Zelenskiy read the public mood …. Ukrainians have the lowest rates of trust in their government in the world. … want[ing] new faces in power and a real fight against corruption. … [Yet] Zelenskiy’s … victory is far from assured. For one thing, the two candidates have agreed to a live debate
[Zelenskiy photos embedded from facebook
page; not part of original article]
…. Zelenskiy … a self-made millionaire … will have to better explain his relationship with … notorious oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, who owns … [Zelenskiy’s show’s] TV channel.  … [a] Poroshenko … rival[] after the president nationalized Kolomoisky’s PrivatBank …. * * * [F]all parliamentary elections are even more important for Ukraine’s future. ….”

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Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia