Ukraine candidate urges public to propose future Cabinet

A comedian who is leading Ukraine's presidential election race has urged his supporters to propose candidates for top government jobs.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who plays the nation's president in a popular TV series, called on his backers to suggest candidates for prime minister, foreign and defense ministers and other top officials. Zelenskiy said in a video message Monday that Ukrainians have grown sick of presidents naming their friends to key positions.

Opinion polls have shown Zelenskiy ahead of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko and ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in the runup to the March 31 vote.

Zelenskiy's popularity has been driven both by his TV star status and by public dismay with current leaders. Ukraine has seen economic troubles and a sharp drop in living standards after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.