ENTERTAINMENT NEWS - A Ukrainian comedian who plays the country’s president in a TV series is currently the favourite to take on the real-life role in this spring’s election, recent polls show.
As the deadline for candidate nomination expired overnight, surveys showed Volodymyr Zelensky ahead of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and incumbent Petro Poroshenko.
But with a record number of candidates in the race, the vote remains highly unpredictable.
“Thirty people have been registered, this is an all-time high,” commission spokesperson Kostyantyn Khivrenko told AFP, saying the documents of another 40 potential candidates are also being considered.
Zelensky, 40, has tapped into widespread frustrations with the country’s political class and the slow pace of reforms.
Various recent polls put him at between 19 and 23 percent, with Tymoshenko and Poroshenko several points behind — varying between second and third place.
But political analyst Anatoly Oktysiuk from Kiev’s Democracy House told AFP that Zelensky’s largely “young, often passive” supporters were likely to not turn out, predicting his final share of the vote would be lower.
Zelensky, already a popular comedian, has in recent years won further fans with his portrayal of the country’s leader in a sitcom called “Sluga Narodu” — which translates as “Servant of the People”.
But he has also rallied largely young supporters to his own political cause.