4 Apr 2019 14:14

Ukrainian state broadcaster ready to air Zelensky-Poroshenko debate at Olympic stadium, but up to CEC to decide

KYIV. April 4 (Interfax) - The National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine has the technical capability to broadcast a discussion between presidential candidates Volodymyr Zelensky and Petro Poroshenko at the Olympic National Sports Complex in Kyiv, but it cannot be called a debate at this point, Hromadske TV has said, citing the national broadcaster's press service.

The national broadcaster referred to the Ukrainian Central Election Commission's (CEC) 2014 provision on debates between candidates that says that such debates are held in the national broadcaster's studio.

"Therefore, the ball is now in the Central Election Commission's court. If they adopt a new provision removing this norm, such debates will become possible. But if they don't, it will be a show or a discussion, but not a debate," Hromadske TV quoted the company's press service as saying.

On March 31, after the first round of the vote ended, Poroshenko said that the two winners should hold debates before the second round.

On April 1, the national broadcaster said on its website that it was ready to give the candidates airtime for an independent discussion on equal terms.

On April 3, Zelensky urged his rival Petro Poroshenko to participate in a debate with him at the stadium, and set him a number of preconditions.