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Ex-Ukrainian president reveals plans to run again

Pyotr Poroshenko hopes to win his country’s next presidential election, according to an interview

Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has said that he plans to run in the country’s next presidential election, when the conflict with Russia ends.

Ukraine was supposed to hold a presidential election in March. However, elections have been postponed indefinitely on account of martial law, which was instituted in February 2022. Ukrainian laws forbid voting or campaigning during such a state of emergency.

Incumbent President Vladimir Zelensky announced last November that there would be no elections for either the president or parliament as long as martial law remains in force, essentially extending his mandate and that of his party in the legislature indefinitely.

“If you are asking me whether I plan to participate in the next election, (then) yes,” Poroshenko said live on Al Jazeera television on Tuesday. “But first, for this election, we need to have a victory,” he added.

The politician also announced plans to run for the European Parliament if Ukraine joined the EU. The bloc’s leaders agreed to open accession talks for Kiev on December 14, 2023. However, the European Commission does not yet have a clear timeframe for talks on the membership bid, its spokesman Eric Mamer said last month.

Poroshenko took office in 2014 several months after the country’s previous leader, Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted in a Western-sponsored coup. His presidency was marred by the deadly conflict in Eastern Ukraine, the sharp decline of the national economy and accusations of corruption.

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Poroshenko’s government unsuccessfully attempted to quash a rebellion in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions with military force. He signed the two Minsk agreements, which were supposed to de-escalate the conflict and reintegrate the regions into Ukrainian political systems with more autonomy, but Kiev stonewalled their implementation.

Poroshenko later boasted about his role in rebuilding his country’s military under the cover of the Minsk agreements, insisting that this had allowed Ukraine to prepare for the current confrontation with Russia.

Moscow has cited Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk accords, its continued attacks on Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as NATO’s encroachment into Ukraine as key reasons for the launch of its military operation in February 2022.

Poroshenko lost the 2019 election in a landslide to Zelensky, who campaigned on the promise that he would make peace in Donbass, only to reverse course and seek NATO support in Ukraine’s confrontation with Russia.

Poroshenko is currently the head of European Solidarity, a small opposition party with 27 seats in the 450-member national legislature, the Verkhovna Rada.

 

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