Blessed by Washington showman wins Ukraine presidency. Will show go on?
Showman Volodymyr Zelensky won the runoff stage of the Ukrainian presidential election. The victory is landslide. Ukraine's Central Election Commission (CEC) has yet to announce final results, but it is already clear that the gap is colossal - Volodymyr Zelensky garnered about 70% of the vote in the runoff, Petro Poroshenko - about 24%, with the voter turnout of almost 63%.
Fifth president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has already accepted the obvious fact and thanked the voters and his team for their support. "Never give up, they say me, and now, when I see these exit polls results, which are obvious, they give me reason to call my opponent and congratulate him ... The elections were fair, transparent and in full compliance with European standards, we kept democracy in the conditions of war. Dear Ukrainians, I will resign as head of state next month. By the choice of most Ukrainians I make this decision," Poroshenko said after the exit-poll result was announced.
Volodymyr Zelensky also thanked the voters in the video message: "I want to thank you all for being with us all these four months. This is a responsible work that you did, not just me. We did it together. And the main thing that we did - we have united Ukraine, united our lives, united our people."
The rivals, the stand-off between which was rather tough, exchanged pleasantries. Poroshenko promised to back the sixth president of Ukraine in any matters. Zelensky, in turn, did not rule out that the predecessor could have a high-ranking position, but only "if it is the wish of the society," and added that "it's not today's personnel decision." "Let's try to do something in the new composition. I really want to," he said.
It is curious that, being guided only by exit polls, Volodymyr Zelensky was congratulated on the victory by... the U.S. embassy. Unprecedented. "We thank all those who contributed to ensuring Ukraine’s presidential election was conducted in a peaceful manner," the embassy wrote on Twitter. At the same time, the Ukrainian internet-newspaper 'Strana' reports that Petro Poroshenko received a guaranteed immunity from Washington after leaving the office. According to the publication, the transparent message was sent to the election winning team - Poroshenko shouldn't be affected.
Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs and CEC reported that no mass violations that could affect the voting results were recorded. However, law enforcement agencies received more than 1000 reports of various violations resulting in more than 15 criminal proceedings. The most active, according to the CEC, were the voters in Donetsk and Lugansk, who ensured Zelensky’s landslide victory. This may indicate that the residents are tired of living in limbo and they pin their hope in a better future on the new government.
It is no accident that one of the first appeals of the runoff stage winner was to a certain extent addressed to that part of the electorate. "In any case, we will act within the Normandy format, we will continue the Minsk process, we will reload it. I think we will have staff reshuffling, in any case, we will continue work in the Minsk format," Volodymyr Zelensky said. He has promised to come up with a plan of action to stop hostilities in Donbass. "We will plunge into a serious information war in order to stop hostilities in Donbass. Very soon, we will announce our plan of action. We will tell everything to our journalists, bloggers," he told a briefing. But at the same time, Zelensky refused to disclose details of the plan, saying only it will be made public soon. "Our election campaign demonstrates what we can do, that we have a strong young team. We have creative ideas but we need your help," Zelensky said addressing journalists.
In principle, Volodymyr Zelensky won in all regions - according to preliminary data, his worst result was recorded in western Ukraine, where the advantage, however, exceeded 10%. But as indicators become more precise, the gap between Zelensky and Poroshenko increases, and the west of the country will not be an exception.
"Poroshenko’s defeat was complete and devastating. This seems to be the result of the elections. Ukrainians did not vote for hatred against Russia, which was Poroshenko’s only election program," member of the Federation Council Alexei Pushkov wrote on Twitter. At the same time, he believes that they voted not so much for Zelensky, but for his hero Goloborodko from the television show Servant of the People. "But politics is not a movie," Alexei Pushkov summarized.
The ending of the epic is, of course, surprising. It's not just about Zelensky's overwhelming advantage, but his victory in general. Still, one could hardly believe in the opposition candidate's success. No sense in hiding now - shortly before the runoff stage, the author of this article predicted the victory of the incumbent president, believing that the Ukrainians had already expressed their attitude to the election participants - politicians in the first round, the vast majority of whom were at various high positions and didn't impress the voters. Demonstrating their categorical rejection and, conversely, their willingness to put the comic who grew out of students’ parties on a presidential chair, in such a difficult and crucial period for the Ukrainian state the population still vote for an unpleasant but still experienced politician. He, in turn, keeping in mind the first round results, will have to draw quite concrete conclusions for himself, realize his mistakes made during the first presidential term and start to correct them.
The reality turned out to be different and much more harsh for the authorities. The level of the Ukrainian society's rejection of the current government was high and categorical. Now the question is what will happen to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The fact is that, due to the constitutional complexities, the parliament can be dissolved by the president only until May 27. But Volodymyr Zelensky may take over the presidential watch on June 3, not later. Thus, now everything depends on when the new presidential team will assume office. If it happens after the parliament dissolution deadline, then Ukraine's sixth president will have an extremely difficult time in the absence of his people in the Verkhovna Rada. Meanwhile, according to the Constitution, Ukraine is a parliamentary-presidential republic, so Volodymyr Zelensky will not be free in making and implementing any decisions.