Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky has scored a landslide victory in the country’s presidential election.
With nearly all ballots counted in the run-off vote, Mr Zelensky had taken more than 73% with incumbent Petro Poroshenko trailing far behind on 24%, bbc.co.uk informs.
“I will never let you down,” Mr Zelensky told celebrating supporters.
Mr Poroshenko, who admitted defeat after the first exit polls were published, has said he will not be leaving politics.
Political newcomer Mr Zelensky, 41, is best known for starring in a satirical television series Servant of the People in which his character accidentally becomes Ukrainian president.
He told reporters he would “reboot” peace talks with Russian-backed separatists fighting Ukrainian forces and volunteers in the east.
“I think that we will have personnel changes. In any case we will continue in the direction of the Minsk [peace] talks and head towards concluding a ceasefire,” he said.
Ukrainians are waking up this morning and discovering that the last few months were not a dream.
They really have elected a man who currently stars in a TV series as the president – as the country’s next real president. And it wasn’t even close.
The pressure will now be on Mr Zelensky to demonstrate that he knows what he is doing.
Throughout the election campaign, he avoided serious interviews and discussions about policy – preferring instead to post light-hearted videos to social media.
He’s got about a month before the inauguration. Then the comedian-turned-president will be faced with a complex in-tray that includes a simmering war with Russian-backed rebels in the east.
Mr Poroshenko, who has been in power since 2014, said the result of the election “leaves us with uncertainty [and] unpredictability”.
“I will leave office but I want to firmly stress – I will not quit politics,” he said.
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.