On April 21, 2019, the second round of the presidential election in Ukraine took place. The winner of the 2019 election was Volodymyr Zelensky from the party Servant of the People who received 72.23 percent of the votes. His opponent, an independent candidate Petro Poroshenko, lost the competition with 24.45 percent of the votes. The turnout was 62.09 percent. Presidential elections in Ukraine take place every five years.
The Ukrainian presidential election is based on the two-round system. In the first round of the election, which took place on March 31, 2019, voters cast a single vote for their favorite candidate. Out of 39 candidates for presidency, no one received a majority (50 percent plus one) of the votes, so the second round was organized.
The president-elect Zelensky is an actor, satirist, and a novice politician. He played the main role in a Ukrainian TV show “Servant of the People,” where a teacher won the presidential election after denouncing corruption in Ukraine. A political party with the show’s name and logo was registered in 2018. Despite high voting intentions, Zelensky has been criticized for avoiding communicating with journalists and suspected of being a puppet of a Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi who was accused of organizing murders and bank fraud. In the first round, Zelensky was leading with 30.4 percent of the votes.
His opponent Poroshenko served as Ukraine’s president since 2014. Earlier, he held the posts of a minister of foreign affairs and of trade and economic development, a secretary of the National Security and Defense Council and headed the Council of Ukraine’s National Bank. His nationalist rhetoric and a ban on Russian language and culture were not welcomed in all regions. The growing inflation, corruption, unemployment rate, and national debt and slow reforms decreased Poroshenko’s popularity during his presidency. In the first round, his result was 16.01 percent.
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe with a population over 43 million inhabitants. Since the Maidan protests, the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, and an armed conflict by separatist groups in Donetsk and Luhansk republics, the country is in political and economic crisis. From 2013 to 2015, Ukraine’s GDP decreased to a half. Ukraine lost its leading import and export partner Russia and and stopped transiting Russian natural gas to Europe.
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