Heavyweight boxing champion and opposition politician Vitali Klitschko to run for Ukraine presidency


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The Independent Online

Ukrainian heavyweight boxer and opposition politician Vitali Klitschko has said that he would run for president in the country’s 2015 election.

Mr Klitshcko, 42, announced his decision in an angry statement to parliament after the assembly, which is dominated by deputies from the ruling Party of Regions and its allies, passed a law amending tax legislation; the law could be used to prevent him from running for head of state.

Striking the rostrum with his hand, Mr Klitschko, who stands 6ft 7in tall, said: “Everything that has taken place in parliament today with texts of laws, directly backed by ruling party deputies, does not intimidate me and will not stop me.

“To head off these various schemes and attempts at getting even with me as a possible candidate, I want to declare this: I will run for President.”

The move makes him the first declared contender against the incumbent, Viktor Yanukovich, who is widely expected to seek a second term.

Next month Ukraine is expected to sign a free-trade deal with the EU.


Vitali Klitschko fighting Britain's Dereck Chisora last year (Getty)