Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky has scored a landslide victory in the country’s presidential election.
With nearly all ballots counted in the run-off vote, Mr. Zelensky had taken more than 73% with incumbent Petro Poroshenko trailing far behind on 24%. “I will never let you down,” Mr. Zelensky told celebrating supporters.
Here are all the things you need to know about the comedian president.
1. Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky or Vladimir Aleksandrovich Zelensky was born 25 January 1978. He is a Ukrainian politician, screenwriter, actor, comedian, director and president-elect of Ukraine.
2. Prior to his political career, he obtained a degree in law and created the company Kvartal 95, which produces films, cartoons, and TV comedy shows.
3. Kvartal created the television series ‘Servant of the People’, in which Zelensky played the role of President of Ukraine. The series aired from 2015 to 2019.
4. A political party of the same name was created in March 2018 by employees of Kvartal 95. Six months before Zelensky announced his candidacy on 31 December 2018, he was already one of the frontrunners in opinion polls for the election.
5. After months of ambiguous responses, during the Kvartal 95 New Year’s Eve on a TV evening, he live-announced his candidacy for the 2019 presidential election.
During the election campaign, Zelensky continued to tour with Kvartal 95. During the campaign his engagement with mainstream media was minimal. He talked to the electorate on social media channels and in YouTube clips.
6. In August 2014, Zelensky spoke out against the intention of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture to ban Russian artists from Ukraine. Since 2015, Ukraine has banned Russian artists and other Russian works of culture from entering Ukraine. In 2018, the romantic comedy Love in the Big City 2 starring Zelensky was banned in Ukraine.
7. Zelensky supports the free distribution of medical cannabis, free abortion in Ukraine and the legalization of prostitution and gambling. He opposes the legalization of weapons.
In September 2003 Zelensky married Olena Zelenska (née Kiyashko). They both attended the same grammar school. The couple’s first daughter Oleksandra was born in July 2004. Their son Cyril Zelensky was born in January 2013.