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Controversial Kiev mayor announces plans to run for president


KIEV, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - The mayor of Kiev, whose mental competency has been questioned over recent policies and extravagant remarks, said on Thursday he would run for president of Ukraine.

"I will by undoubtedly take part in the presidential campaign," Leonyd Chernovetskiy told a news conference.

A commission set up by Ukraine's parliament to look into Chernovetskiy's activities has ruled the mayor should undergo a psychiatric examination as his initiatives ran counter to the law and made a mockery of the city authorities.

Among other odd decisions and unpopular policies, Chernovetskiy fired the head of the Ukrainian capital's zoo for failing to find a mate for the zoo's elephant and introduced entry charges at cemeteries.

The mayor has refused to undergo the examination. He recently exercised in front of journalists to demonstrate his fitness. Chernovetskiy ran, did chin-ups and swam in a swimming pool as reporters looked on.

Presidential elections in Ukraine will take place late this year or early next year, with the date to be set by parliament. The current president, Viktor Yushchenko, ally-turned-rival Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, and ex-premier and opposition Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych are seen as the main candidates.

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