If there's one thing Ukraine's 2019 presidential race brings, it's unprecedented for Ukrainian politics unpredictability. The two leading candidates – incumbent Petro Poroshenko and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy – who will face each other in the presidential run-off on April 21 seem to have as much in common as they have in difference.
And now there seem to be another, unheard of for Ukraine, practice on the cards. Poroshenko and Zelenskiy are set to meet each other in a debate: at a football stadium, in front of what's guaranteed to be hundreds of journalists.
According to Ukrainian law, if there's a need for a second round in the presidential election (that is, if not a single candidate gains above 50% of the votes in the first round), a presidential debate needs to be held two days before the election day. But so far the conduction of such a debate was under big question, since Poroshenko and Zelenskiy seemed to have different ideas for it. Poroshenko seemed to show readiness to debate Zelenskiy but the comedian's commitment was unclear. Until the evening of April 3 when Zelenskiy published a well-made video where he declared that he's not "shying away" from the meeting and is ready to face Poroshenko in a debate. On his unusual conditions: at a football stadium, in front of all the journalists who wish to attend.
Despite Ukraine's current Central Election Commission's rules that a presidential debate needs to be held in a television studio, Poroshenko, after a few hours of silence, agreed.
The president highlighted that the rules are that debates need to be held at the country's public broadcasting television studios, but "[if you want] a stadium, [let's do it] at a stadium."
"I'm waiting for You, Volodymyr Oleksandrovych," Poroshenko concluded in a video published on his social media early on April 4.
If the debate indeed goes through, it is expected to take place on April 19 at Kyiv's Olimpiyskiy Stadium.
/By Maria Romanenko