The heavyweight boxing champion turned pro-democracy activist Vitali Klitschko has announced this morning that he has decided against contesting the Ukrainian presidential elections in May.
Klitschko’s announcement comes days after a trip to the United Kingdom, and an announcement from former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko who said that she will seek election in May.
The move may be an attempt to avoid splitting the vote between himself and another candidate, in a bid to keep our far-right nominees from the Svoboda or Pravyi Sektor parties.
Klitschko had been expected to the content the elections, as well as chocolate tycoon Petro Poroshenko. Mr Poroshenko currently leads opinion polls, and this morning received Klitschko’s endorsement.
Tymoshenko served as Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010, and finished second in the last presidential election, losing to Viktor Yankukovych by 3.5 percent.
After the election she was convicted of embezzlement and abuse of power regarding a gas deal she brokered with Russia in 2009. Her trial and imprisonment were widely regarded by the opposition to be politically motivated.
The election is due to take place on May 25th. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the two highest polling candidates will go forward to a run-off vote the following week.