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Ukrainian election frontrunner Zelensky vows not to call for protests in case of defeat

Zelensky holds the lead with more than 30% of the vote

KIEV, April 1. /TASS/. Ukrainian presidential candidate Vladimir Zelensky, who leads the first round of Ukraine’s presidential vote, said in a 112 TV channel broadcast he would not organize mass protests if the people of Ukraine choose another candidate.

"I’m not going to wage a war against the society, I won’t gather Maidan-style protests or put up tents to protect myself if Ukrainians don’t support me," he said.

The candidate thanked his electoral team and all Ukrainians, and said he was ready for the second round of the elections.

"I think that we have a huge army of amazing people," he said at his campaign headquarters after the results of exit polls were announced on Sunday evening. "I think this is our first major victory, but not the only one. There is big serious work ahead."

On Sunday, Ukraine voted in the first round of the seventh presidential election in its history. The record number of candidates - 39 people - was registered.

According to the Central Election Commission’s online vote count, with 22% of ballots counted, Zelensky holds the lead with more than 30% of the vote, while incumbent President Pyotr Poroshenko is the runner up, garnering 16.8%. The turnout stands at 63.52%.

Exit polls project Zelensky and Poroshenko to face each other in the second round, scheduled for April 21.