KIEV – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Sunday he would start a political process in the eastern parts of the country if he wins a second term next week.
The Ukrainians will return to the polls next Sunday to choose between Poroshenko and Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who took a comfortable advantage over his rival in the first round of voting on March 31. Poroshenko was widely accused of voter fraud in the primaries on March 31 in order to squeeze out the third place candidate, Tymoshenko.
“Peace is the first thing I want to bring after winning the presidential election. It is the beginning of the political process in the Donbas, while our country preserves its unitary nature and restores its territorial integrity,” Poroshenko told the Ukraina channel. Talking peace appears to be a move to justify a narrative that he successfully ‘appealed’ to Zelenskiy’s voters, when many are seeing a real attempt to steal the final election outright.
He said he respected those who voted for his opponent but said some of his supporters wanted the Soviet Union to be restored. Zelenskiy appealed to Ukrainian and Russian voters speaking both languages during the campaign.
Poroshenko arrived at the Olympic stadium in Kiev with the intention of staging a debate with the winner of the first round and his rival in the vote next Sunday, but Zelenski did not appear because he insisted on holding the debate on the 19th.
Poroshenko had proposed to his rival in the second round of presidencies to hold a debate. Zelenski responded with a series of conditions: debate “in front of the people” at the Kiev Olympic Stadium instead of one of the television channels, allow the presence of all journalists and pass a breathalyzer and drug test. In addition, he demanded that Poroshenko recognize that he would not lead a debate with “a puppet of the Kremlin”, or “a clown “, but with a candidate for the Presidency of Ukraine.
“With respect to the early termination of the legislature, I want to emphasize that there are no constitutional foundations for it,” Poroshenko said.
Regarding the entry of Ukraine into the EU which is defined in its electoral program as an obligation, he assured that Ukraine will carry out the referendum on accession to the European Union (EU) anyway.
Poroshenko stressed that the country’s entry into the EU bloc and NATO “will strengthen the guarantees of state independence.”
None of the suitors accumulated the votes necessary to win the presidential elections during the first round that took place on March 31.