Ukraine’s presidential runoff Sunday is a battle between a billionaire tycoon who rode anti-Russian protests to the nation’s top office five years ago and a comedian who plays a president in a TV sitcom. Improbably, the actor appears poised to win.

Comic actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s commanding lead in the polls reflects widespread disillusionment with President Petro Poroshenko and Ukraine’s old political elite, as well as a seething anger against rampant corruption and a lack of opportunity that have left many in endemic poverty.

It also reflects a campaign that has effectively used humor and social media to reach voters.

FILE - In this Friday, March 29, 2019 file photo, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukrainian actor and candidate in the upcoming presidential election, hosts a comedy show at a concert hall in Brovary, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, file)
FILE – In this Friday, March 29, 2019 file photo, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukrainian actor and candidate in the upcoming presidential election, hosts a comedy show at a concert hall in Brovary, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, file)

Zelenskiy’s easygoing style and artistic flair contrasts sharply with Poroshenko’s stodgy demeanor and stiff gestures, and the rival campaigns bear the distinctive mark of their starkly different persona.

FILE - In this Sunday, April 14, 2019 file photo, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center, gestures as he poses for a photo with his supporters ahead of the presidential elections, at the Olympic stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, file)
FILE – In this Sunday, April 14, 2019 file photo, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center, gestures as he poses for a photo with his supporters ahead of the presidential elections, at the Olympic stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, file)

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