Ukraine election: The president vs. guy who plays one on TV

Ukraine election: The president vs. guy who plays one on TV
FILE - In this Friday, March 29, 2019 file photo, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukrainian actor and candidate in the upcoming presidential election, hosts a comedy show at a concert hall in Brovary, Ukraine. Ukraine’s presidential runoff on Sunday, April 21, is a battle between a billionaire tycoon who rode anti-Russian protests to the nation’s top office five years ago, and a comedian who plays a president in a TV sitcom. The actor has used humor and social media to take pole position. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, file)

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s presidential runoff Sunday is a battle between a billionaire tycoon who rode anti-Russian protests to the nation’s top office five years ago and a comedian who plays a president in a TV sitcom. Improbably, the actor appears poised to win.

Comic actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s commanding lead in the polls reflects widespread disillusionment with President Petro Poroshenko and Ukraine’s old political elite, as well as a seething anger against rampant corruption and a lack of opportunity that have left many in endemic poverty.

It also reflects a campaign that has effectively used humor and social media to reach voters.

Zelenskiy’s easygoing style and artistic flair contrasts sharply with Poroshenko’s stodgy demeanor and stiff gestures, and the rival campaigns bear the distinctive mark of their starkly different persona.