Monday, 22 Jul 2019 - 19 of Tammuz, 5779

Landslide victory for Jewish comedian in Ukrainian presidential elections

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Zelenskiy’s only brush with Ukrainian politics has been to play the president in a television show called “Servant of the People,” a popular satire about a teacher who wins the country’s highest office. The local media calls him “the Ukrainian Donald Trump.”

KIEV—A comedian with no political experience, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was elected as new president of Ukraine following Sunday run-off presidential vote.

The 41-year-old actor, who is Jewish, won nearly 74 percent of the vote compared to around 26 percent for incumbent president Petro Poroshenko who conceded defeat.

Zelenskiy’s landslide victrory triumph was fueled by a wave of anti-establishment sentiment, similar to other populist insurgencies sweeping across the West fueled by voters’ discontent with issues such as corruption, the war in Ukraine’s east and a sluggish economy.

Zelenskiy’s only brush with Ukrainian politics has been to play the president in a television show called “Servant of the People,” a popular satire about a teacher who wins the country’s highest office. The local media calls him “the Ukrainian Donald Trump.”

He has called for direct negotiations with Russia on ending the 5-year conflict with the separatists in the Dombass province in eastern Ukraine.

“I promise all of you, I will never let you down,” he told a jubilant crowd of supporters at his campaign headquarters upon hearing the elections results.

Zelenskiy  was born  to a Jewish family of scientists but never mentioned his Jewish identity in interviews before or during the electoral campaign. His father Oleksandr Zelensky is a professor who heads an academic department of cybernetics and computing hardware at the Kryvyi Rih Institute of Economics.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy studied law at the Kyiv National Economic University department in his native Kryvyi Rih, but he hasn’t worked professionally in the legal field.

In a joint letter of congratulations to the new President-elect, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker  expressed ‘’appreciation for the strong attachment to democracy and the rule of law that the people of Ukraine have demonstrated throughout the electoral process.’’

‘’As President of Ukraine, you can count on the EU’s strong support to Ukraine’s reform path, including consolidating the rule of law, fighting corruption, maintaining macro-financial stability and pursuing the essential reform of the energy sector,’’ they said.

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