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Kiev court rejects claim demanding Vladimir Zelensky be withdrawn from presidential race

The court did not find signs of vote buying in the activities of presidential candidate Zelensky
Vladimir Zelensky Anna Marchenko/TASS
Vladimir Zelensky
© Anna Marchenko/TASS

KIEV, April 21. /TASS/. The Sixth Administrative Court of Appeal in Kiev refused to satisfy the claim against Vladimir Zelensky, demanding to cancel his registration as a candidate for the presidency of Ukraine. The corresponding decision was made on Sunday.

"The claim should be rejected," said the judge presiding over the case.

The court did not find signs of vote buying in the activities of presidential candidate Zelensky. Earlier, Zelensky’s campaign team invited people to obtain free tickets to the debates with incumbent President Pyotr Poroshenko. Free ticketing to Friday’s debates was cited as a reason for withdrawal of Zelensky from the presidential race.

"The claims are ungrounded and are not subject to satisfaction," the court’s decision states.

In particular, the court stated that "the claimant’s arguments do not deserve attention, since the video message (with an appeal to get free tickets to the debate - TASS) does not fall under the concept of prohibited campaigning." It was also addressed not only to the supporters of Zelensky, but to everyone willing to attend the event.

The judges noted that the claimant, Andrei Khilko of the public organization Ukrainian Association of Shareholders, did not have the authority to file such a claim, as he could act only within his district, where he was authorized to carry out monitoring. According to the court’s decision, he will have to pay all legal costs. The decision can be appealed within two days.

Following the meeting, Zelensky’s lawyers stated that they consider the decision not to satisfy the lawsuit against him "reasonable and lawful." In turn, claimant Andrei Khilko noted that there were grounds for appealing the court’s decision, adding that he was not sure whether he would appeal.

About the claim

On Saturday, Khilko said he had filed a legal claim against Zelensky. He demanded the court recognize the free ticketing to Friday’s debates as vote buying and oblige the Central Election Commission to cancel Zelensky’s registration as a presidential candidate. Apart from that, Khilko said he planned to run for Ukrainian president himself in future.

The Sixth Administrative Court of Appeal in Kiev began to consider the claim on Saturday evening. In the course of it, both the lawyers of Zelensky and the representative of the CEC of Ukraine, who was a third party in the case, asked the court to reject the claim, considering it ungrounded and futile.

In the first round of Ukraine’s presidential race on March 31, the candidate from the Servant of the People party Vladimir Zelensky received 30.24% of the vote, while Poroshenko, who seeks a second term, came in second with 15.95%. The runoff is scheduled for April 21.