Ukraine Elections

Ukraine Elections

On Wednesday, TV viewers in Ukraine enjoyed the premier episode of Season Three of "Servant of the People," a situation comedy about an ordinary man who becomes president of Ukraine. Season four is very much in doubt, because the actor who plays Ukraine's president on the show may soon be elected Ukraine's real-life president.


On Sunday, voters will see the name of Volodymyr Zelenskiy alongside those of 38 other candidates during the first round of voting in Ukraine's presidential election. Assuming no one wins a majority, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff on April 21.

Zelenskiy currently leads in the polls with one-quarter to one-third of the vote. Current President Petro Poroshenko and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko are running in second and third place respectively.

The Big Issue: Frustration with stagnation and foreign policy paralysis. Many Ukrainians have grown frustrated with rampant official corruption and an economy enfeebled by the combination of confrontational relations with Russia and an inability to build closer ties with the European Union. Zelenskiy hasn't offered detailed solutions to these problems, but having never served in government (except on TV), he can't be blamed for them either.

The Wildcard Risk: Will thugs disrupt the vote? Ukrainian Ultranationalists – who fiercely oppose Poroshenko say they'll be present in uniform outside polling stations to "monitor" the election. If they provoke violence and disrupt voting, will police intervene? Will their presence delegitimize the election results?

Irony Alert: Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine in 2014 and to back separatism in its eastern provinces has actually weakened Russia's hand in the country's electoral politics. The ethnic Russian population of Ukraine is concentrated heavily in Crimea, which Moscow claims as part of Russia, and in the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, which have vowed to boycott the election. Remove millions of pro-Russian votes and you're much less likely to get a Russia-friendly election result.

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Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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For many, Paul Rusesabagina became a household name after the release of the 2004 tear-jerker film Hotel Rwanda, which was set during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Rusesabagina, who used his influence as a hotel manager to save the lives of more than 1,000 Rwandans, has again made headlines in recent weeks after he was reportedly duped into boarding a flight to Kigali, Rwanda's capital, where he was promptly arrested on terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder charges. Rusesabagina's supporters say he is innocent and that the move is retaliation against the former "hero" for his public criticism of President Paul Kagame, who has ruled the country with a strong hand since ending the civil war in the mid 1990s.

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From climate change to connecting more people to the Internet, big companies like Microsoft are seeing an increasing role within multilateral organizations like the UN and the World Health Organization. John Frank, Microsoft's VP of UN Affairs, explains the contributions tech companies and other multinational corporations are making globally during this time of crisis and challenge.

7: Among the 10 nations showing the highest COVID-19 death rates per 100,000 people, seven are in Latin America. Weak health systems, frail leadership, and the inability of millions of working poor to do their daily jobs remotely have contributed to the regional crisis. Peru tops the global list with nearly 100 fatalities per 100,000 people. Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Colombia are also in the top 10.

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