Ukrainians voted on Sunday in the second round of the country’s presidential election, with incumbent leader Petro Poroshenko seeking re-election, while TV comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy is making his foray into mainstream politics for the first time.
Polling stations opened 8 a.m. and will close 12 hours later, the BBC reported.
Sunday’s election comes after the two candidates on Friday appeared at Kiev’s Olympic stadium to debate for the first time.
Zelensky, 41, who is best known for starring in a political satirical drama called “Servant of the People” where he plays a teacher who accidentally becomes the Ukrainian President, won the first round on March 31 with more than 30 per cent of the vote, almost double what Poroshenko got when he finished in second place with 15.95 per cent.
With no previous political experience, Zelensky’s campaign has focused on his difference to others rather than on any concrete policy ideas.
The 53-year-old incumbent president, one of Ukraine’s wealthiest oligarchs, was elected in a snap vote after former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was toppled in the February 2014 Maidan Revolution, which was followed by Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
The next President will inherit a deadlocked conflict between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists in the east, while Ukraine strives to fulfil EU requirements for closer economic ties.
The EU has said that about 12 per cent of Ukraine’s 44 million people are disenfranchised, largely those who live in Russia and in Crimea.