According to The Telegraph, Vitali Klitschko surprised everyone on Saturday when he announced that he has backed out of the presidential race in May but would instead back the candidacy of Petro Poroshenko. Klitschko said that Russia needs to nominate a single candidate that represents democracy for Russia. It must be a candidate who enjoys the strongest public support. Klitschko believes that today this candidate is Poroshenko. Mr. Klitschko added that he plans to run for mayor of Kiev in elections that will be held along with the presidential polls on May 25.
Vitali, a former heavyweight boxing champion is a strong proponent of encouraging closer European ties. Vitali was one of the most influential leaders in the deadly street protests in Kiev that toppled pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych’s regime.
Mr Klitschko had 20 percent of the vote in late December and was viewed as the most potent political threat to Mr Yanukovych at the height of the protests. Unfortunately, an opinion poll made available by four respected Ukrainian research companies this week put him second in the ratings for president with the less than nine percent of the vote. Indeed, Klitschko is correct in backing chocolate baron Mr Poroshenko who is ranked first with the backing of almost one-quarter of the respondents.
There are some analysts who believe that support for Mr Klitschko collapsed once Mr Yanukovych left power as voters began to look for candidates with more experience in politics and administrative affairs. According to CTV News, the move was likely made to ensure that both Klitschko and Poroshenko cement powerful positions in Ukraine’s new government and block Yulia Tymoshenko from returning to power.
Poroshenko also owns the popular television station, Channel 5 and has served as foreign minister. He already leads in the polls for the presidential vote and is seen as very likely to win over Tymoshenko, who declared this week that she will attempt to unify Ukraine.
The presidential election on May 25 and the Kiev mayoral vote are taking place amidst Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea, Ukraine’s terrible economic standing and rumours of discontent in the country’s mainly Russian-speaking eastern provinces.
Apparently one analyst, Vadim Karasyov believes that the union between Poroshenko and Vitali Klitschko will forever change the way politics works and that they will cancel out other candidates’ chances. As Vitali Klitschko backed out of the presidential race the world watches and waits. It becomes clear that Yulia is not fighting to become president but rather to be a part of parliament.
Ukraine is moving quickly to build up its government and is still uneasy about Russia and a possible invasion. President Barack Obama advised Russian President Vladimir Putin to pull his troops back from the border with Ukraine when they spoke for an hour last Friday. The Russian leader initiated the call and asserted that Ukraine’s government is allowing radicals to intimidate civilians with impunity — something Ukraine insists has not happened.
Vitali Klitschko backing out of the presidential race is just one small part of this story. The election looms in the not so distant future and the outcome remains a mystery. Hopefully, the world will see diplomacy on the part of Russia and democracy take hold of Ukraine. This would put to rest a lot of troubled hearts.
Commentary by Nicole Drawc