The 41-year-old former comedian Volodymyr Zelensky has won a landslide victory in the second round of Ukraine’s presidential election, securing at least 70 per cent of the votes, exit polls say.
According to a national exit poll conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, Mr Zelensky received 73.2 per cent of the vote while incumbent president Petro Poroshenko took just 25.3 per cent. Turnout was 57.55 per cent.
Other exit polls, conducted by Ukrainian broadcasters 1+1 and 112 Ukraine, both gave Mr Zelensky more than 70 per cent of the vote.
Speaking at a press conference after the exit polls were published, Mr Poroshenko conceded to Mr Zelensky, offering him his help.
Mr Poroshenko also said that the elections were fair, honest and conducted in line with European and international standards.
“I will leave office, but I want to firmly emphasise that I am not leaving politics,” the incumbent president said, adding that the new president will have “very strong opposition”.
After the announcement of the exit polls, president-elect Zelensky thanked his supporters and promised Ukrainians that he will not let them down. “I am still not officially a president, but I can say as a citizen of Ukraine to all the post-Soviet states: look at us – everything is possible.”