A Ukrainian comedian known for his role of playing the president in a popular television show is now the actual frontrunner for Ukraine’s top job, according to a recent poll.
Volodymyr Zelensky was somewhat considered to be a joke candidate for the March 31 election, due to his lack of political experience, but in the polls has pushed past the likes of Ukraine’s incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who are all expected to make it through to a second round of voting.
In his TV acting role, Zelensky plays a teacher who goes on to become Ukraine’s president after a video of his rant against corruption goes viral. In real life, Zelensky has been described as emulating this anti-corruption voice for his own campaign.
The nationwide poll, conducted in early February by Ukraine’s Razumkov Center, found that of the more than 2,000 people surveyed, 17.5% would vote for Zelensky, followed by 13.1% for Poroshenko and 11.5% for Tymoshenko.
These blanket low scores for the three frontrunners may reflect the Ukrainian population’s notorious mistrust of politicians, however, some experts have noted that Ukrainian polls are sometimes aligned in favour of who pays for it.