Ukrainians are about to find out how it feels to have a clown as president (us Americans already know what that’s like, heeeey). Volodymyr Zelensky, who seemingly just won a landslide election to become the country’s new leader, is a professional comedian, according to BBC.
Not only is Zelensky a comedian, he is best known for starring in a TV show in which his character accidentally becomes the president of Ukraine. Satire is dead.
Zelensky beat incumbent Petro Poroshenko to deliver a stunning blow to the Ukrainian establishment. In the first round of voting three weeks ago, Zelensky claimed 70 percent support.
“I will never let you down,” Zelensky told supporters on Sunday. “I’m not yet officially the president, but as a citizen of Ukraine I can say to all countries in the post-Soviet Union: Look at us. Anything is possible!”
The official results of the race are still not in, but it looks almost certain that Zelensky will win. He’ll serve a five year term as leader of the conflicted Eastern European country.
Ukraine is in the midst of a violent civil war between Russian separatists and Ukrainian nationalists. The conflict has killed more than 13,000 people. Millions of people living in the Russian-annexed region of Crimea were unable to vote in the election, according to the ABC.
Zelensky ran on a platform, like his TV character, which criticized endemic corruption in Ukrainian politics. He has promised to secure the release of 170 Ukrainian military members who are currently being held prisoner by separatists or the Russian government. But during the campaign, Zelenksy was criticized for his vague policy goals.
Poroshenko seems to have accepted his defeat.
“I am leaving office, but I want to firmly underline that I am not leaving politics,” he told reporters.