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Ukraine election: Poroshenko debates empty podium as Zelensky stays away

Acting Ukrainian President and Presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko looks at the empty Volodymyr Zelenskys podium during debate at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, 14 April 2019.Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Petro Poroshenko is hoping to win re-election

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has arrived to debate the man hoping to take his place, in front of thousands of people in the capital, Kiev.

There is only one problem: his rival Volodymyr Zelensky – a comedian with no political experience – hasn’t arrived.

The two men agreed to the televised debate last week, but failed to agree on the date it would take place.

Mr Zelensky favoured this coming Friday, two days before they go head to head in the election run-off.

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Mr Poroshenko, who is trailing his rival after winning just 16% of the first round vote, appears to now be hoping to capitalise on Mr Zelensky’s failure to arrive at Kiev’s Olympiyskiy Stadium for the televised face-off.

According to the BBC’s Kiev correspondent Jonah Fisher, the former businessman had wanted the debate to expose the fact his opponent had never really articulated a political vision or had his ideas subject to scrutiny.

But instead the incumbent used his 45-minute wait at the podium to answer journalists’ questions, and attack his absent rival.

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Mr Poroshenko, who critics say has not done enough to fight issues like corruption in the Eastern European nation, dubbed the election campaign a “silent movie”, and accused Mr Zelensky of being afraid.

“If he hides from people again, if he is afraid, we will invite him again. We will invite him every day to every live show for the whole country to see who it is going to elect for the next five years,” he told the crowds and television cameras on his arrival.

In fact, this debate was Mr Zelenksy’s idea. However, it was a challenge he clearly thought Mr Poroshenko would turn down, according to our correspondent.

The comedian has so far ignored the usual rules around campaigning, staging no rallies and giving few interviews – preferring to communicate via social media.

It is also unclear what his political views are, apart from a wish to be new and different.

Despite this, he finished the first round comfortably in the lead, garnering more than 30% of the vote, and is still favourite to win next weekend’s ballot.

Presidential election results

WHOLE UKRAINE

Turnout: 63.53%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 30.24
Petro Poroshenko: 15.95
Yulia Tymoshenko: 13.4
Yuriy Boyko: 11.67
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 6.91
Ihor Smeshko: 6.04
Oleh Lyashko: 5.48
Oleksandr Vilkul: 4.15

Lviv

Turnout: 68.91%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Petro Poroshenko: 35.32
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 19.02
Yulia Tymoshenko: 14.85
Volodymyr Zelensky: 11.96

Transcarpathia

Turnout: 47%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 38.35
Yulia Tymoshenko: 15.7
Petro Poroshenko: 11.41
Yuriy Boyko: 7.48
Oleh Lyashko: 6.27
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 5.13

Mykolayiv

Turnout: 60.2%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 40.74
Yuriy Boyko: 17.33
Petro Poroshenko: 9.69
Yulia Tymoshenko: 8.84
Oleksandr Vilkul: 5.94
Oleh Lyashko: 5.72

Ivano-Frankivsk

Turnout: 61.96%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Yulia Tymoshenko: 22.51
Petro Poroshenko: 21.3
Volodymyr Zelensky: 16.07
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 15.16

Volyn

Turnout: 68.4%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 21.63
Yulia Tymoshenko: 19.84
Petro Poroshenko: 18.98
Oleh Lyashko: 9.9
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 9.01
Ihor Smeshko: 6.92

Rivne

Turnout: 64.97%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 24.01
Petro Poroshenko: 22.32
Yulia Tymoshenko: 15.98
Oleh Lyashko: 9.88
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 7.7
Ihor Smeshko: 5.73

Ternopil

Turnout: 66.11%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Petro Poroshenko: 24.36
Yulia Tymoshenko: 18.87
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 17.08
Volodymyr Zelensky: 14.67
Oleh Lyashko: 7.41

Vinnytsia

Turnout: 65.07%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 23.42
Petro Poroshenko: 22.37
Yulia Tymoshenko: 17.61
Ihor Smeshko: 8.98
Oleh Lyashko: 8.17
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 6.23

Dnipropetrovsk

Turnout: 66%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 45.34
Yuriy Boyko: 12.36
Oleksandr Vilkul: 10.93
Yulia Tymoshenko: 8.52
Petro Poroshenko: 8.32

Donetsk

Turnout: 59.47%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Yuriy Boyko: 36.87
Volodymyr Zelensky: 24.74
Petro Poroshenko: 12.64
Oleksandr Vilkul: 11.99

Zhytomyr

Turnout: 64.58%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 27.83
Yulia Tymoshenko: 17.42
Petro Poroshenko: 15.94
Oleh Lyashko: 9.71
Ihor Smeshko: 8.42
Yuriy Boyko: 7.2
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 5.72

Zaporizhzhya

Turnout: 64.37%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 39.75
Yuriy Boyko: 18.79
Oleksandr Vilkul: 9.4
Petro Poroshenko: 8.76
Yulia Tymoshenko: 8.24

Kiev region

Turnout: 66.5%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 30.86
Petro Poroshenko: 18.56
Yulia Tymoshenko: 16.86
Ihor Smeshko: 8.8
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 7.22
Yuriy Boyko: 5.2

Kirovohrad

Turnout: 61.96%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 34.52
Yulia Tymoshenko: 18.53
Petro Poroshenko: 11.79
Yuriy Boyko: 8.74
Oleh Lyashko: 8.17
Ihor Smeshko: 6.28

Luhansk

Turnout: 56.78%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Yuriy Boyko: 43.96
Volodymyr Zelensky: 25.05
Oleksandr Vilkul: 9.16
Petro Poroshenko: 6.58

Odesa

Turnout: 58.4%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 41.26
Yuriy Boyko: 21.92
Petro Poroshenko: 9.08
Yulia Tymoshenko: 8.02
Oleksandr Vilkul: 6.09

Poltava

Turnout: 65.79%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 35.62
Yulia Tymoshenko: 15.86
Petro Poroshenko: 10.61
Yuriy Boyko: 9.48
Ihor Smeshko: 7.66
Oleh Lyashko: 7.54
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 5.27

Sumy

Turnout: 64.45%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 32.66
Yulia Tymoshenko: 16.42
Yuriy Boyko: 11.19
Petro Poroshenko: 10.66
Ihor Smeshko: 8.21
Oleh Lyashko: 8.15
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 5.42

Kharkiv

Turnout: 64.53%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 36.41
Yuriy Boyko: 26.58
Petro Poroshenko: 8.52
Oleksandr Vilkul: 7.47
Yulia Tymoshenko: 7.35

Kherson

Turnout: 57.65%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 37.58
Yuriy Boyko: 15.73
Petro Poroshenko: 11.51
Yulia Tymoshenko: 10.33
Oleh Lyashko: 6.02
Oleksandr Vilkul: 5.29
Ihor Smeshko: 5.04

Khmelnytsky

Turnout: 65.11%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 24.89
Yulia Tymoshenko: 17.59
Petro Poroshenko: 16.63
Oleh Lyashko: 9.84
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 8.59
Ihor Smeshko: 7.65
Yuriy Boyko: 5.07

Cherkasy

Turnout: 63.17%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 30.06
Yulia Tymoshenko: 16.71
Petro Poroshenko: 12.2
Ihor Smeshko: 10.75
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 9.41
Oleh Lyashko: 8.09
Yuriy Boyko: 5.5

Chernivtsi

Turnout: 56.1%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 31.07
Yulia Tymoshenko: 19.67
Petro Poroshenko: 14.09
Yuriy Boyko: 8.99
Oleh Lyashko: 7.54
Ihor Smeshko: 5.24
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 5.16

Chernihiv

Turnout: 65.37%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 26.28
Yulia Tymoshenko: 19.43
Petro Poroshenko: 12.77
Oleh Lyashko: 12.53
Ihor Smeshko: 8.45
Yuriy Boyko: 7.33
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 5.89
Oleksandr Vilkul: 2.46

Kiev city

Turnout: 68.05%

Votes for each candidate (%):

Volodymyr Zelensky: 27.09
Petro Poroshenko: 25.59
Yulia Tymoshenko: 12.88
Ihor Smeshko: 9.62
Anatoliy Hrytsenko: 9.11
Yuriy Boyko: 6.27