Thirty-nine candidates to take part in Ukraine’s presidential election

KIEV, March 8 (Xinhua) — Thirty-nine candidates in total will participate in Ukraine’s presidential election on March 31, the country’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) said on Friday in a statement.

According to the statement, the CEC has cancelled the registration of five candidates, who voiced the desire to withdraw from the race.

Three of the five candidates dropped out of the race to support former Defense Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko, one quit in favor of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, and another withdrew his candidacy to back former Deputy Prime Minister Olexandr Vilkul.

Initially, 44 candidates registered to compete in the election.

The presidential contenders were permitted to withdraw their candidacy from the race no later than March 7.

The 2019 presidential campaign in Ukraine was officially launched on Dec. 31, 2018.

According to various opinion polls, incumbent President Poroshenko, opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko and actor Volodymyr Zelensky were viewed as frontrunners in the presidential race.