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Vitali Klitschko Elected Mayor of Kiev

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Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIMay 26, 2014

Heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko has proven his might in the ring. He has now done the same in the political arena, too.    

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated cited multiple outlets Monday in reporting that Klitschko has been elected as mayor of Kiev, Urkaine:

Dmitry Zaks of the AFP, via Yahoo News, later confirmed the news.

Klitschko, 42, ran with the party for which he is the parliamentary leader, the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform, and garnered 57 percent of the vote, per Zaks.

The nation's capital will see a beloved, accomplished athlete take public office in an effort to move in a more positive direction. Persistent protests have occurred in Kiev between anti-establishment citizens and police, and tensions reached an ominous climax in February when an estimated 77 people were killed in 48 hours, per BBC News Europe.

Former president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February amid the turmoil and, according to the BBC News report, was heavily supported by Russia. Disputes with Russia regarding the sovereignty of the Crimean peninsula have also led to civil unrest.

In September 2013, Klitschko discussed some of the sentiment felt by his fellow countrymen, per ESPN The Magazine's Brett Forrest.

"The Ukrainian people are upset with the game that the government has played with them," said Klitschko. "The people want to know why we don't have a better future."

David Stern of BBC News reported Sunday that billionaire confectionery magnate Petro Poroshenko had been elected as the new Ukrainian president. The electoral victory was a landslide, as he commanded roughly 57 percent of the vote in one of the exit polls, so it appears Ukraine's voters got their wish in terms of who will lead the country.

Atlantic Council senior fellow Sabine Freizer Gunes provided her analysis on the legitimacy of Klitschko's election and the overall democratic process the country saw in its most recent voting:

The combined forces of Klitschko and Poroshenko can help raise morale and help Ukraine bolster relations with the European Union and have a clearer, more optimistic vision for the future. It is a positive sign that the elections are viewed as democratically sound and that the worst of the violence appears to be over.

Klitschko, who holds a career boxing record of 45-2, has garnered the prestigious designation as the Hero of Ukraine. If his prowess in the ring is any indication, this quick ascent to prominent political power suggests he is genuine about turning Ukraine around. This also puts Klitschko in an ideal position to one day succeed Poroshenko or someone else as the nation's president.

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