Ukraine’s top three presidential race runners: alike yet different

On Sunday, Ukraine is holding the first round of presidential elections. There are nearly four dozen candidates to cast vote for. Here are the names and plans of the top three.

Poroshenko, Zelensky or Tymoshenko: one of them is likely to become or will continue to be the president of Ukraine, two will go to the second round, and all together they remain the front runners of the election race for the first position in the country. All three have refused to participate in TV debates planned for earlier time.

“Ukraine chooses changes,” Yulia Tymoshenko confidently says. She has been in politics since 1997. Her plan is to return the occupied territories by military-diplomatic means, eliminate the clan-oligarchic system, reduce gas tariffs, support small business and develop renewable energy.

“Priority will be given to building a strong, modern army — without corruption, without bargaining for blood,” says the presidential candidate of Ukraine.

“We are going our own way,” says the current president, Petro Poroshenko, and assures everyone that only thanks to him Ukraine will be able to restore territorial integrity and have a decent standard of living, attract investments and speed up the movement towards the European Union and NATO.

“Poroshenko or Putin: President Poroshenko’s victory is a failure of the Kremlin’s plan to destroy the Ukrainian state,” the candidate’s promo message states.

“Ukraine will be a great country of free, rich, and happy people,” Petro Poroshenko notes.

“The president is a servant of the people,” recalls comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, who plays the role of president in the eponymous TV series, the new season of which was released recently on a popular channel. The comedian’s plans are serious: an uncompromising fight against corruption, numerous benefits for business and no privileges for the president, deputies and judges — their immunity will be lifted. The ideological basis of the program is democracy and the full accountability of the authorities.

“I think that people know me and feel me very well. They see that I didn’t have any promises and then apologies,” notes Zelensky.

In total, the bulletin is almost a meter long with 39 names. For some, as experts say, this is training before parliamentary elections, for others, PR and a way to get additional preferences, but for Ukraine it is a very important indicator.

“This shows that there really is a democracy in Ukraine. Despite all things, there is democracy in Ukraine, compared to other countries. We still do not know who will be president. We have candidates from the government, candidates from the opposition, candidates from the protest vote,” says Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleksiy Ryabchin.

If tomorrow no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote – and this is the most likely option – in three weeks the Ukrainians will have a second round.

Stsyapan Svyatlou, Belsat