Roundup: Why actor Zelensky wins Ukraine's presidential election

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-22 19:10:06|Editor: Lu Hui
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Candidate actor Volodymyr Zelensky casts his ballot at a polling station in Kiev, Ukrain, April 21, 2019. Ukraine's presidential candidates, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko and actor Volodymyr Zelensky, on Sunday cast their ballots in the second round of the country's presidential election. (Xinhua/Sergey)

KIEV, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Early official results showed on Monday that Ukrainian actor Volodymyr Zelensky won the country's presidential election by gaining 73.15 percent of the votes in the second round with 96.94 percent of the votes counted.

A total of 24.52 percent of Ukrainians voted for incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, while the rest voters spoiled their ballot papers, the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) said in a statement on its website.

These results are similar to the results of the national exit poll unveiled on late Sunday that suggested that Zelensky captured a victory with 73 percent of the voter support, the record approval rating of the presidential candidate in Ukraine's history.

Experts told Xinhua that the victory of Zelensky was quite anticipated as most opinion polls carried out before the election suggested that he will have a clear lead over Poroshenko. In the same time, analysts were divided over the reasons behind the triumph.

Lev Korshevnyuk, the head of Info-Expert analytical company, said that Zelensky's popularity is largely a protest vote against Poroshenko.

"There are three main factors of a catastrophic fall in Poroshenko rating, and the first one is the insufficient fight against corruption and the explicit reference to the president and his closest associates in loud corruption scandals," Korshevnyuk said.

He added that the other factors are the jump in prices for utility tariffs and the failure of Poroshenko to put an end to the conflict in the east of Ukraine.

A political scientist Kyrylo Yevseev suggested that the thirst for changes in Ukraine was behind Zelensky's victory.

"Ukraine is now in a very difficult economic situation associated with the military conflict in the east of the country. But people want dramatic changes and a dramatic improvement of their lives," Yevseev said.

Meanwhile, some other scientists suggested that the high level of Zelensky's approval resulted from his own positive image.

Oleksiy Buryachenko, the head of the All-Ukrainian regional expert legal association of influence, said that Zelensky is a symbol of a better life for voters.

"For Ukrainians, Zelensky personified the image of hope, the image of a straightlaced and open person without a corruption-related past, compromising materials and skeletons in the cupboard," Buryachenko said.

Andriy Prokopenko, a political analyst at Prokopenko and Associates company, also noted that Zelensky, who is a newcomer to the Ukrainian politics, is perceived by voters as an upright candidate.

"This means that he is not involved in corruption schemes. The voters got tired of the empty promises of experienced, but corrupt old politicians," Prokopenko said.

There is also an opinion that Zelensky has gained the landslide victory because he has managed to gain the loyalty of voters of different ages living in all parts of the country, which is rare for Ukrainian candidates, who usually rely on certain electoral groups.

"He is simultaneously supported by a significant part of voters, who favor the continuation of the integration with the West, and at the same time a considerable part of voters, who favor the interruption of the integration with the West," said Pavlo Kukhta, deputy head of the Strategic Advisory Group for Supporting Ukrainian Reforms. "From a political point of view, he chose a competent strategy and acted correctly. Therefore, he wins the election."