Volodymyr Zelensky wins first round of Ukrainian presidential election

Comedian-turned-presidential hopeful Volodymyr Zelensky has won the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election.

Exit polls and early results indicate that the former comedian has received 30.2 per cent of the vote. He will be joined in the second round of voting by the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, who took around 16.6 per cent.

Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko missed out after trailing in third with just over 13 per cent.

“I am very happy but this is not the final round,” said Mr Zelensky. Mr Poroshenko described his second-place showing as a “harsh lesson”.

Ukraine’s Central Election Commission of Ukraine (CEC) reported that voter turnout was high, at 63.48 per cent. The highest level of turnout was registered in the Lviv, Volyn and Kyiv regions (above 68 per cent).

While around 2,000 minor cases of election fraud were reported to the Ukrainian police, both CEC and international election observers concluded that there had been no widespread attempts at fraud.

A total of 39 candidates were on the ballot paper. The second round of voting will take place on April 21.