Vitaliy Klichko, Ukraine’s world heavyweight champion, announced on Thursday he will run for the post of the Kyiv Mayor in March competing with his former patron and incumbent mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko.

The decision to run for the mayor has been widely anticipated after Klichko had ended his professional boxing carrier in November 2005. Klichko also leads a bloc of liberal and youth parties for the general election.

“I want to become the mayor of Kyiv because I love my city very much and want to make life in the city better,” Klichko said at a press conference.

Omelchenko, who is backed by President Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, has been leading Klichko in opinion polls taken last month, according to polling firms.

Omelchenko would receive 24.2% of the vote among Kyiv residents, followed by Klichko’s 14.5%, according to the poll released by Democratic Initiatives Dec. 26.

Leonid Chernovetskiy, a Kyiv banker and a lawmaker, would get 13.1% of the vote, followed by Mykola Tomenko, who would score 11.3%, according to the poll.

Political parties view Kyiv mayoral election as strategically important as the capital is the largest and the wealthiest city in Ukraine, Ukrainian journal informed.


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