Zelensky looks head and shoulders above rival in Ukraine’s election runoff — analyst

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KIEV, April 2. /TASS/. Vladimir Zelensky’s first place in the first round of the presidential election in most regions of Ukraine is a clear sign he is a “social” candidate, and not a regional one, the chief of the Ukrainian Institute of Policy Analysis and Management Ruslan Bortnik told TASS on Tuesday.

“This means that Zelensky is not a regional candidate, but a ‘social’ one. In other words, as we have seen he was the front-runner everywhere, except for the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, where Yuri Boiko was number one, and Ternopol and Lvov, where the incumbent, Pyotr Poroshenko gained the upper hand,” he said. Bortnik believes that Zelensky has indisputably better chances for victory in the runoff.

“Bearing in mind that candidates number three, four and five positioned themselves as opponents of the current authorities, it will be very hard to outperform Zelensky or drive him into some pro-Russian, southeastern niche,” Bortnik said.

He believes it was a very telling sign Zelensky placed first in the Vinnitsa Region, traditionally regarded as Poroshenko’s citadel.

“There is an unwritten rule: the candidate who fails to win in his native region is believed to be unable to win a priori. I believe that something may change by the day of the runoff, but cardinal changes will be unlikely, if Zelensky’s team does not commit some disastrous mistakes,” Bortnik said. “If the current trend continues, in the second round Zelensky may emerge the winner in the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions.”

According to the Central Election Commission Zelensky is in the lead in twenty regions of Ukraine, including Kiev. Poroshenko placed first only in two regions – Lvov and Ternopol, Boiko, in Donetsk and Lugansk, and Yulia Timoshenko, in Ivano-Frankovsk.

The CEC has processed more than 98% electronic reports. The two men who will clash in the runoff are the nominee of the Servant of the People party, comedian Vladimir Zelensky (30.24%) and the incumbent Pyotr Poroshenko (15.93%).

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