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Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov

Islam Abduganiyevich KarimovKarimov

Vitali Klitschko fights his way up

With parliamentary elections on October 28, Vitali Klitschko will try to increase his political influence in Ukraine. Since 2005, the oldest of the Klitschko’s is not only a celebrated sportsman but also a remarkable figure in Ukraine’s political opposition. But can he make a difference in the parliamentary elections on Sunday? A background article by Sander Degeling

At the age of 41, Vitali Klitschko is determined to increase his political influence in Ukraine. His UDAR party – in English: The Punch – stands for a pro-European and anti-corruption policy. Klitschko wants Ukraine to become a modern and democratic nation with fair justice. Last month, he told Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski that he will work on serious reforms if democratic forces would win the elections.

The Chances

Recent polls are looking good for the older of the boxing brothers. According to a survey published by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation UDAR would reach a score of 16 percent. Yanukovych’s Party of Regions would have the support of 23.3 percent of the voters, while the United Opposition only scores 15 percent. If the score is maintained on Sunday, it confirms the rising popularity of Klitschko’s liberal UDAR. “The ratings show that people believe us ... It means that more people from our political force will be represented in the Ukrainian parliament”, Klitschko said.

Klitschko’s rising popularity is anything but surprising. As a relatively new face in politics, Dr. Ironfist – his boxing nickname – could be an attractive alternative for a lot of voters who are tired of ongoing corruption and the increasing wealth gap. After the disintegration of the Orange Revolution, many Ukrainians are looking for new political figures to represent their ideals.

The boxing politician


During his successful boxing career, Klitschko became interested in politics during the Orange Revolution in 2004 when he announced his support to pro-Western candidate Viktor Yushchenko. Later, he became advisor of the former President of Ukraine. Although Klitschko failed on becoming Kyiv’s mayor twice, he never abandoned his ambitions in politics. But right now, it’s probably time to benefit from his determined perseverance.

Knock-out the corruption

One of Ukraine’s biggest problems is the huge level of corruption. UDAR’s parliamentary election campaign has focused on implementing anti-corruption reforms. The widespread corruption has had a devastating influence on Ukraine’s economy. By opposing the corruption, Klitschko wants to bring Ukraine closer to the European Union.
“We are fighting for what is right," he said on Thursday night in Kyiv. "We are fighting for ideas - and they are fighting for money. And that is why I'm confident that we can build a normal state. The Poles, Czechs, Hungarians and the Georgians could do it. We are Ukrainians, and we can do it too."

Opposing Yanukovych

In the meantime, the Party of Regions may get a little concerned about the rising popularity of one of Ukraine’s greatest sportsmen. Party of Regions´ leader Mykola Azarov said that Klitschko should better involve in the local level. In the past, Klitschko has stated clearly that any coalition with the ruling Party of Regions is impossible. Some analysts even suggest that Klitschko could become a potential contender for Ukrainian presidency.

Traditionally, the Party of Regions stands strong in the eastern, more Russian-orientated part of the country while the United Opposition and the UDAR gain a lot of votes in the western part of the country. On October 28 will be decided if pro-Western forces in Ukraine are again becoming stronger after the end of the Orange Revolution.