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The campaign for early presidential elections nominally kicked off Tuesday in Ukraine as the incoming government continues in its effort to restore calm to the troubled political and economic scene. The decision to hold a presidential poll on May 25, ahead of the previously anticipated vote in early 2015, was taken Saturday by parliament, which on the same day voted to impeach President Viktor Yanukovych, reported RIA Novosti.
Although the campaign period has formally opened, it is not yet clear who is going to take part, but prominent leaders of the opposition movement that spearheaded Yanukovych’s ouster – Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko – and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko have all been linked with a possible run.
Tymoshenko was released from jail by parliamentary decree on Saturday and later in the day addressed a crowd gathered on Kiev’s Independence Square, but the tepid reception she received there has led political observers to suggest her presidential fortunes may not be favorable.
Tymoshenko, who came to international prominence as the heroine of the 2004 Orange Revolution, was jailed in 2011 over alleged irregularities in a gas deal with Russia in 2009 that she sealed while serving as prime minister. Her supporters have always argued the charges were politically motivated, although many Ukrainians remain wary of her aggressive political style and are suspicious of her substantial personal wealth.
On Monday, lawmakers authorized the allocation of 1.96 billion hryvna ($218 million) for the election campaign.