Ukraine's presidential vote pits comedian against incumbent

Ukraine's presidential vote pits comedian against incumbent
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, left, and Ukrainian presidential candidate and popular comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy, right, argue their debates at the Olympic stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, April 19, 2019. Friday is the last official day of election canvassing in Ukraine as all presidential candidates and their campaigns will be barred from campaigning on Saturday, the day before the vote.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Polls have opened in Ukraine’s presidential runoff pitting the incumbent against a comedian who plays the role of Ukraine’s president in a TV sitcom.

Opinion surveys ahead of Sunday’s vote have shown President Petro Poroshenko trailing far behind comic actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy, reflecting public dismay with endemic corruption, a moribund economy and a five-year fight against Russia-backed insurgents in the country’s east.

Zelenskiy got twice as many votes as the incumbent in the first round three weeks ago. Like his sitcom character, a school teacher thrust into the presidential seat after a video of him blasting corruption goes viral, Zelenskiy has focused heavily on fighting graft.

The campaign was marked by fierce mutual criticism and showy jockeying for dominance.