Vladimir Zelenskiy, whose character becomes president in hit TV show, leading polls

Vladimir Zelenskiy may just joke his way to becoming Ukraine’s next leader. A comic actor who plays a teacher who unexpectedly becomes president in a hit Ukrainian TV show after his rant against corrupt politicians goes viral, he is now pitching for the top job in real life and has a 10-point lead in some opinion polls.

It is Ukraine’s most unorthodox presidential campaign in history. After announcing his campaign on New Year’s Eve, Zelenskiy has shot into first place by contrasting his screen personality, a genial everyman who speaks in a gravelly bass, with public discontent against the country’s ruling class. His political party and TV show share the same name, Servant of the People.

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