Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy wins 2019 presidential election

Credit: Efrem Lukatsky

Credit: Efrem Lukatsky

Actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy has won the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election after incumbent Petro Poroshenko conceded defeat soon after the exit polls emerged.

"I am leaving office, but I want to firmly underline that I am not leaving politics," Poroshenko said, according to The Associated Press.

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Zelenskiy has mostly avoided speaking to media and being specific about his policies. The Guardian reported Zelenskiy posted viral videos on social media and did stand-up comedy gigs and jokes instead of traditional campaigning.

CNN reported he starred in the Ukrainian TV series "Servant of the People," in which he played a schoolteacher who unexpectedly becomes president of Ukraine following an anti-corruption rant video that goes viral.

"I promise I will never let you down," Zelenskiy said after the release of the exit polls, according to The AP.

In Poroshenko's five years in office, Ukraine has suffered from reported government corruption, economic turmoil and a war with Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country. The war, which has led to the deaths of more than 13,000 people, came after Russia annexed Crimea, a peninsula in the Black Sea, in 2014, CNN reported.

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