15:48 28.02.2014

Klitschko confirms he, Tymoshenko will run for president

UDAR party leader Vitali Klitschko on Friday confirmed that he would run for president of Ukraine in the planned early election on May 25 and said former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the Batkivschyna (Fatherland) party, had told him she was also going to seek presidential office.

"I said from the platform of the Verkhovna Rada [parliament] many months ago that I would run … We didn't expect an early election, but my plans haven't changed," Klitschko told reporters at the Verkhovna Rada.

He said that two days before he contacted Tymoshenko, and that she told him she also wanted to run for president.

He dismissed a remark that, if both he and Tymoshenko become presidential candidates, it would in effect mean rivalry between politicians who are essentially allies.

"I can't see anything wrong there, but it will be very strange if opposition forces become rivals. I hope that, if there is any rivalry, it will be honest, transparent, and based on modern European principles," he said. "If members of opposition forces take part in the presidential election, I'm sure that the most important thing is an honest rivalry and honest vote counts."

Klitschko said Tymoshenko's decision to run had come as a surprise to him. "She hadn't said so anywhere but confirmed this in our conversation," he said.

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