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Ukraine's Klitschko pulls out of presidential race

Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) party leader Vitaly Klitschko (C) addresses activists of the Right Sector movement and their supporters, who are gathered outside the parliament building to demand the immediate resignation of Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov, in Kiev March 27, 2014. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

KIEV: Ukrainian boxer-turned-politician Vitaly Klitschko pulled out of the race for president on Saturday, throwing his weight instead behind billionaire confectionary oligarch Petro Poroshenko.

Klitschko's withdrawal, and an announcement by Poroshenko late on Friday that he would stand in the May 25 election, sets up a battle between the man known as the 'Chocolate King' and Ukraine's fiery former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko.

"The only chance of winning is to nominate one candidate from the democratic forces," Klitschko told a meeting of his UDAR (Punch) party, saying he backed Poroshenko.

 

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