Herbst: Both Poroshenko and Zelensky have good chances of winning

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Incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, who reach the second round of presidential elections according to preliminary results, have good chances of winning despite a significant gap between them in the first round. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst, who currently serves as director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, said this in an interview with Ukrinform.

“I think they both have a good chance of winning. I don’t think that [gap between the two candidates] will be closer in the round two than it was in the round one,” he said. He also commented on what each of the candidates may focus on in order to increase chances of winning the second round. “They may focus their attention on their own strengths and their opponent’s weaknesses. So, for Zelensky the big issue is corruption, for Poroshenko the big issue is the national security,” Herbst said.

The expert also suggested that if Poroshenko wins, he will be able to build his own policy depending on the results of parliamentary elections and the new political configuration of other government agencies. Meanwhile, if Zelensky wins, the kremlin will “do some provocations to test him.” At the same time, if Zelensky’s close ties with well-known Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky prove true, this will greatly weaken his presidential ambitions and opportunities at the post.

With 99.35% of ballots counted by 15:20 on Tuesday, Zelensky leads in the first round of Ukraine’s presidential elections with 30.22% of the vote. Poroshenko gained 15.93% of the vote and Batkivshchyna Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko has 13.4%.

As reported, Poroshenko wins Ukraine election in foreign constituencies.

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