Oleh Tsariov, a member of the Ukrainian parliament from the Party of Regions faction and a presidential candidate, has announced his withdrawal from the race and called for its boycott, the Donbass News web portal reported on Tuesday.
"I was registered as a presidential candidate. My main goal was to use my candidate status to convey the voice from the southeast to the residents of the rest of Ukraine," Tsariov said. "However, the Kyiv authorities, in violation of all democratic norms, have deprived me of this opportunity," he said.
"I have decided to withdraw my candidacy, because I see that candidate status is inefficient in these conditions," Tsariov said at a meeting of the South-East coordinating council.
Tsariov called on a number of other candidates, i.e. Communist leader Petro Symonenko, former Kharkiv region Governor Mykhailo Dobkin, parliamentarian Sergiy Tigipko, and Rinat Kuzmin, to pull out of the election campaign.
"The elections that are taking place amid civil war need to be boycotted," Tsariov said. "By taking part in the elections, you are playing into the hands of the illegitimate authorities and legitimizing not only them but also their decision to start a civil war against the eastern regions! You are at risk of playing the role of traitors of your voters' interests," he said.
The Central Elections Commission told Interfax-Ukraine it had not received Tsariov's request on withdrawing from the race.
Early presidential elections in Ukraine are scheduled for May 25. A total of 23 people have been officially registered as presidential candidates.
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