Ukraine: Comedian or oligarch?

3 min
Manfred Stamer
Manfred Stamer Senior Economist for Emerging Europe and the Middle East

Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian, won the most votes (30%) in the first round of Sunday’s presidential election, trailed by incumbent Petro Poroshenko (16%) and former PM Yulia Tymoshenko (13%). Zelensky and Poroshenko will face each other in a run-off vote on 21 April. The outlook for the next presidential term is not overly promising. President Poroshenko has failed to tackle high levels of perceived corruption, stalling economic reforms and low living standards during his five-year term. And Zelensky, who has benefited from voter discontent over these grievances, has no political experience. The outcome in the run-off is open, despite Zelensky’s strong lead in the first round. Poroshenko was written off a year ago but has managed a sort of comeback, campaigning as defender of the nation against Russia. Expect a turbulent campaign for the run-off.