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Klitshcko Wants To Run For Ukrainian Presidency

  • RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service

Ukrainian boxer-cum-politician Vitali Klitschko

Ukrainian boxer-cum-politician Vitali Klitschko

KYIV, October 24, 2013 -- Vitali Klitschko, the leader of the opposition Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms (UDAR), has announced that he will run for president of Ukraine.

Klitschko made the declaration at a session of parliament on October 24 after the legislature dominated by deputies from the ruling Party of Regions and its allies passed a bill that could bar him from standing in the 2015 election.

"To all the dirty machinations that are going on today in parliament, with the bills backed by pro-government deputies, I want to say that it will not intimidate or stop me," a visibly angry Klitschko told the house. " To stop any conjectures or attempts to prevent me from running in the election, I want to state: I will run for president."

Deputies from his UDAR (Punch) party gave him a standing ovation.

The amendment to current tax legislation adopted by parliament would bar Ukrainian nationals who hold permanent resident status in another country from standing for president.

Klitschko, a world boxing champion, has resident status in Germany where he often travels.

Klitschko said on October 24 that he believes the Ukrainian authorities are trying to deprive him of Ukrainian citizenship through legislation he described as "nonsense and cynical fraud."

Klitschko was elected to parliament last year when his pro-Western UDAR party won 40 of the 450 parliamentary seats in the 2012 general elections.

In 2006, he ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Kyiv.

President Viktor Yanukovych is widely expected to seek a second term in the March 2015 election.

With reporting by Reuters, UNIAN, and Interfax