Klitschko Steps Into Political Ring

KIEV, Ukraine — Newly retired heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko said Saturday he would run in Ukraine's parliamentary elections in March.

Retired heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko

Klitschko, who has been wooed by numerous political factions since his surprise retirement last month, is to top the party list of a newly formed bloc that includes a party headed by the country's finance minister and the Pora youth movement, which helped organize last year's Orange Revolution mass protests.

Klitschko also refused to rule out a bid for Kiev's mayoral post.

The 34-year-old is hugely popular in Ukraine and was a prominent supporter of the Orange Revolution, which propelled Viktor Yushchenko to the presidency. Yushchenko's political party also tried to persuade Klitschko to join its party ranks.

Under election law, Ukrainian voters cast ballots for a political party, which then distributes seats based on its party list. Parties try to put high-profile names on their list to attract voters, even though the person might give up the seat to someone else lower down the list.

Klitschko retired after a knee injury forced him to pull out of a long-delayed title defence against Hasim Rahman in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Source: AP