The Latest: Poroshenko sobered by Ukraine election showing

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) – The Latest on Ukraine’s presidential election (all times local):

9:25 p.m.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says his apparent poor performance in the country’s presidential election is sobering.

Most exit polls show Poroshenko trailing in second place behind comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy with support of 20 percent or less. That would be enough to put him into a runoff with Zelenskiy on April 21.

Poroshenko has said at a news conference after the polls closed that “I don’t feel any kind of euphoria. I critically and soberly understand the signal that society gave today to the acting authorities.”

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9:15 p.m.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the comedian whom exit polls show leading Ukraine’s presidential election, says he has made a major step toward victory.

Exit polls indicated Zelenskiy would get about 30 percent of the vote, far short of the absolute majority needed to win the first round. Most exit polls said incumbent Petro Poroshenko received the second-biggest support, which would put him and Zelenskiy in a runoff on April 21.

Zelenskiy told journalists after the polls closed that “this is only the first step toward a great victory.”

He denied that his campaign would coordinate with the forces of any of the other 37 candidates on the first-round ballot.

He said that “we are young people. We don’t want to see all of the past in our future.”

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8:55 p.m.

Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko is disputing several exit polls that showed her failing to get enough support in Sunday’s election to qualify for a runoff.

Several exit polls showed comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy and incumbent Petro Poroshenko as the top two vote-getters. The polls indicated Zelenskiy would get about 30 percent of the votes, ahead of Poroshenko but far away from the 50 percent needed to win in the first round.

However, Tymoshenko’s campaign staff said its own exit polling showed her handily in second place.

At a news conference after the polls closed, Tymoshenko called on her supporters to head to polling stations to ensure an honest count.

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8:10 p.m.

An exit poll shows comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the lead in Ukraine’s presidential election but his support is well short of the majority needed to win in the first round.

The exit poll released Sunday after voting stations closed indicated that Zelenskiy received about 30.4 percent of the nationwide vote, followed by incumbent President Petro Poroshenko with 17.8 percent and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko with 14.2 percent support.

The poll conducted by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology and the Razumkov Center public opinion organization was based on nearly 18,000 responses to questioning at some 400 polling places as of 6 p.m., two hours before the polls closed. The poll claims a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

A runoff between the top two candidates in the race will take place on April 21.

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6:40 p.m.

Ukrainian police say they have received more than 1,600 complaints about electoral violations in the presidential election.

A statement Sunday by Ukraine’s Interior Ministry on Facebook said the complaints had been received by 6 p.m., two hours before polling stations were to close.

It said the reported violations included unauthorized campaigning at polling stations, attempts to bribe voters and removal of ballots.

Opinion polls have shown Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who stars in a TV sitcom about a teacher who becomes president after a video of him denouncing corruption goes viral, leading a field of 39 candidates in the presidential race.

The polls also had Zelenskiy outpacing incumbent President Petro Poroshenko and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the other top candidates, by a broad margin

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3:15 p.m.

Ukrainian citizens living in Poland are lining up to vote in their country’s presidential election.

It is the first Ukrainian election since the arrival in recent years of large numbers of Ukrainian workers and students seeking higher wages and better opportunities in the neighboring European Union country.

People lined up at the embassy in Warsaw and at three other consular points across Poland on Sunday and cast their ballots, choosing from a field of 39 candidates.

Igor Isajew, editor of a news portal for Ukrainians in Poland, PROstir.pl, said that many other Ukrainians in Poland remain unable to vote because they live too far from the polling stations.

While there are no opinion polls tapping into the views of Ukrainians in Poland, Isajew sees signs that a higher percentage of Ukrainians in Poland than in Ukraine favor incumbent Petro Poroshenko due to his pro-European credentials, despite corruption allegations.

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7 a.m.

Voters in Ukraine are casting ballots in a presidential election after a campaign that produced a comedian with no political experience as the front-runner and allegations of voter bribery.

Opinion polls have shown Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who stars in a TV sitcom about a teacher who becomes president after a video of him denouncing corruption goes viral, leading a field of 39 candidates. The polls also had Zelenskiy outpacing incumbent President Petro Poroshenko and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the other top candidates, by a broad margin.

Voter Tatiana Zinchenko, 30, cast her ballot for the comedian. She says “Zelenskiy has shown us on the screen what a real president should be like.”

If no candidate secures an absolute majority of Sunday’s vote, a runoff between the two top finishers would be held April 21.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks at his headquarters after the presidential election in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, March 31, 2019. The exit poll released Sunday after voting stations closed indicated that Zelenskiy received about 30.4 percent of the nationwide vote, followed by incumbent President Petro Poroshenko with 17.8 percent and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko with 14.2 percent support. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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