Ukraine’s Central Election Commission has completed the acceptance of documents from citizens wishing to participate in the election campaign and run for the presidency in the next elections on March 31.

The commission began accepting applications from potential candidates on December 31, 2018 and this procedure finished at midnight local time on Monday (01:00 Moscow time).

According to Konstantin Khivrenko, head of the CEC media department, as of Sunday evening, 83 people filed applications to the commission. The commission approved 28 applications and 22 were rejected for various reasons, 33 more documents are under consideration.

One of the frequent reasons for the refusal to register a candidate is the fact that the candidate did not pay the legal bail in the amount of 2.5 million hryvnias (more than $90,600). Under the law, this pledge is refundable only if the candidate wins the election, or enters the second round of voting.

Meanwhile, the commission still has time to consider all submitted applications through February 8 and this marks the next stage of the electoral process. CEC is to officially announce the final list registered candidates no later than February 9.

President of Ukraine Pyotr Poroshenko submitted his documents for registration as a self-promoted candidate on the last day allotted for this by law – last Sunday. The head of state arrived at the commission with his wife, Marina Poroshenko, not through the main entrance, where many media representatives were waiting for him. After completing the necessary formalities, he preferred to avoid meeting with the press, but recorded a short video message. In that message, the president urged “not to stop halfway” and to continue steps aimed at reforming the country and its “compliance with the criteria necessary for membership in the EU and NATO.”

Among those who have already received a presidential candidate certificate are showman Vladimir Zelensky, the leaders of the Batkivshchyna Party and the Civic Position Party Yulia Timoshenko Anatoly Grysenko, head of the Opposition Platform – For Life, Yuriy Boyko.

This campaign is a record one for the number of presidential candidates. In the past early elections in 2014, 23 candidates took part in the campaign; in 2010, there were 18 people wishing to become head of state. According to recent polls, the presidential rating is headed by Zelensky, the second and third places are shared, according to various polls, by Timoshenko and Poroshenko. They are followed by the leader of the Opposition Platform – For Life, Yuriy Boyko, while Grysenko closes the top five of favorites.

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