TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Surveys make Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who plays a fictitious president in a TV series, the overwhelming favorite to defeat incumbent Petro Poroshenko, whose popularity has been dragged down by patchy efforts to tackle corruption and sliding living standards.
A victory for Zelenskiy in Sunday’s second-round runoff would nonetheless be a dramatic departure in a country where previous presidential elections since independence were won by experienced politicians including three former prime ministers.
Investors are seeking reassurances that whoever wins will accelerate reforms needed to attract foreign investment and keep the country in an International Monetary Fund program that has supported Ukraine through war, recession and a currency plunge.
Zelenskiy’s unorthodox campaign relied heavily on quirky social media posts and comedy gigs instead of traditional rallies and leafletting.
He has also promised to fight corruption, a message that has resonated with Ukrainians who are fed up with politics as usual in a country of 42 million people that remains one of Europe’s poorest nearly three decades after winning independence from the Soviet Union.
An opinion poll by the KIIS research firm on Tuesday showed Zelenskiy with 72 percent of the vote and Poroshenko with 25 percent. Last week a different survey put them on 61 percent and 24 percent respectively.