Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky from the Servant of the Nation party has promised to maintain the country’s course toward NATO and EU membership if elected. He has also promised to work to establish a favorable investment climate and guarantee that foreign investments in the country’s economy are protected.
“Ukraine chose its eurointegration course and its course toward Europe a long time ago, and no one is going to change that… I am in favor of NATO. But in order to join, we have to explain to people that this is the country’s security,” the candidate told the TV channel “Ukraine” in an interview on Sunday.
According to Zelensky, the western regions of Ukraine all already know about NATO and have already made up their minds about the election, which is why it is now very important to “get through to everyone living in eastern Ukraine”. However, he is convinced that the decision to join NATO can only be made through a national referendum.
Zelensky believes that the country needs to have “a normal climate for investment”. “When it comes to business relations and economic relations with the West, they are waiting for a guarantee. They expect that with the new president they will get a guarantee,” he added.
On 19 February, Ukraine’s incumbent president Petro Poroshenko signed a law enshrining “the European identity of the Ukrainian nation and the irreversibility of Ukraine’s Euroatlantic course” in the constitution. At the same time, a phrase was added to the definition of the president’s mandate: to be the “guarantor of the state’s strategic course and the acquisition of full-fledged membership in the EU and NATO”. Poroshenko has also been using the prospect of membership in the two organizations as his primary election slogan.
On Sunday, the Central Election Commission of Ukraine released the official results of the first round of voting, with Volodymyr Zelensky receiving 30.24% of the votes and Poroshenko 15.95%. The second round of voting will take place on 21 April.