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It's 'Me or Putin': Ukrainians left confused over president's campaign slogan

Author : Rachael Kennedy

Ukrainians quickly took to social media to point out a few of the factual issues with the phrase
23:20, 31 January 2019

Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine
Reuters

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced on Tuesday that he would run for a second leadership term, despite flailing approval ratings linked to a diminishing welfare system, corruption, and his handling of the recent civil war in Ukraine's east.

But it was his campaign slogan referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin that generated some confusion amongst his audience.

Related: Future elections and cold peace with Russia: Main theses of Poroshenko's speech in Kyiv

Ukrainians quickly took to social media to point out a few of the factual issues with the phrase.

"Does Putin know that he has an election in March?" Kiev-based journalist Elena Bondarenko joked, sharing a mock of a Poroshenko-Putin ballot paper.

Related: Poroshenko criticizes offers of candidates for presidency to negotiate with Russia

"In the morning, Putin will come out and say: 'friends, I have decided not to run for president of Ukraine,' and then everything in [Poroshenko's] campaign plan will have collapsed," another journalist, Dimitry Zaborin, wrote on Facebook.

One journalist, Olga Shary, asked whether the Ukrainian president truly believed that if voters rejected him, the country had no choice but to "surrender to the aggressor"

"That is, according to the logic of Poroshenko and his team, the elections do not need to be held, since there is only one candidate and a saviour," she continued.

"What a painful choice...." another simply wrote.

Related: Poroshenko had chance for peace, - Russian MFA

Who is Poroshenko against?

While none of the candidates have received high public ratings, there are three front-runners to note.

A poll conducted in December by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology saw Poroshenko trailing behind Ukraine's former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, who launched her own bid last week.

Poroshenko was also rated lower than Volodymyr Zelensky, a Ukrainian actor and comedian who announced his candidacy earlier this month.

Related: Ukraine to file application for entering EU in 2024, - Poroshenko

However, despite the shaky start in the presidential polls, many experts believe Ukraine will eventually see a run-off between Poroshenko and populist choice Tymoshenko.

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