Before the only direct election campaign debate between the acting president Petro Poroshenko and its challenger Volodymyr Selenskyj there is high tension in Kiev.
“Do you want to be blown up tomorrow?” Say the debate! “Thursday evening prominent journalist Dmytro Gordon from Kiev addressed Volodymyr Selenskyj, who first introduced his team to the TV channel” 1 + 1 ” ,
“No, of course I do not want to die, I have family, I have children, but I declare officially that I will not refuse the debate,” Selenskyj replied. Gordon, known for his excellent relations with the Ukrainian security apparatus, then asked the absent Interior Minister Arsen Awakov to make that decision for the two presidential candidates.
Cancellation is not an issue
Of course, there was no question of a cancellation of the 7:30 pm local time (6:00 pm CEST). However, Minister of the Interior Awakov had already deployed in the morning a large police force around the Kiev Olympic Stadium, which Selensky had imposed on his competitor Poroshenko as the site of their only direct election campaign confrontation. Also the time was determined by Selenskyj.
Almost desperate appeals by the incumbent President to debate with him before the last legal election day had been ignored by the challenger. At the same time, the election campaign itself had recently been dominated by discussions about the planned speech duel. A probable calculus of Selenskyj’s campaigners, who wanted to avoid content-related positioning in key political issues, should have worked out.