Boxer-turned-politician Vitali Klitschko on Saturday pulled out of the race for Ukraine's president, throwing his weight instead behind a billionaire businessman.
Klitschko, one of the most familiar faces of the opposition during the anti-government protests that ousted pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych last month, also told members of his UDAR party that Ukraine should aim to join the European Union fully.
"We need to have a joint democratic nominee. Ithas to be a candidate with the highest chances of winning. Today, I believe such a candidate is Petro Poroshenko," he told a party convention in Kiev, referring to the billionaire businessman. "Our goal is full membership of Ukraine in the EU."
Klitschko said that instead he would run for mayor of Kiev. "All reforms start in Kiev," he said.
Klitschko's withdrawal from the presidential race would set up a battle between confectionary businessman Poroshenko and Ukraine's former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, in the May 25 elections.