Did you hear the one about the comedian who won the Ukraine presidential election?

A comedian whose only political experience consists of playing a president on TV cruised has become to the country's leader.

Results from nearly all polling stations show TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy has won the Ukrainian presidential runoff vote in a landslide.

The Central Election Commission says Monday that Zelenskiy has won 73% of the vote while the incumbent President Petro Poroshenko got just 24% support with more than 95% of the ballots counted.

His victory was seen as a reaction against the country's entrenched corruption and low standard of living.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gestures while speaking to the media Credit: Efrem Lukatsky/AP

Even before results started trickling in, Poroshenko accepted defeat, saying: "I am leaving office, but I want to firmly underline that I am not leaving politics."

Mr Zelenskiy, for his part, promised wide changes at the top echelons of government and said his number one task would be securing the release of about 170 Ukrainian military members taken prisoner in the east or in Russia.

Ukraine has been plagued by rampant corruption, a sickly economy and a grinding, five-year war with Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country that has killed more than 13,000 people. Conflict meant millions of people living in the region were unable to vote, Zelenskiy said he would engage Russia to try to end the conflict.

Although Mr Zelenskiy was criticised for a vague campaign platform and having never held public office, voters appeared to have cast aside those concerns in favour of a thorough sweep of Ukraine’s political leadership.

“I have grown up under the old politicians and only have seen empty promises, lies and corruption,” said Lyudmila Potrebko, a 22-year-old computer programmer who cast her ballot for Mr Zelenskiy.

“It’s time to change that.”

Mr Zelenskiy. 41, became famous nationwide for his comic portrayal in a television series of a teacher who becomes president after a video of him denouncing corruption goes viral.

Ukrainians cast their ballots Credit: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

Mr Poroshenko was a billionaire confectionery magnate and former foreign minister before he took office in 2014 after massive street protests drove his Russia-friendly predecessor to flee the country.

Although he instituted some reforms, critics said he had not done nearly enough to curb the country’s endemic corruption.

Millions of people living in the rebel-controlled east and in Russia-annexed Crimea were unable to vote.

Russia seized Crimea in 2014 in a move that Ukraine and almost all of the world views as illegal.

Fighting in the east that erupted that same year after the Russian annexation has killed more than 13,000 people.