Ukraine’s incumbent President Petro Poroshenko has debated with an empty podium after his rival Volodymyr Zelensky – a TV star and comedian- failed to appear to the highly-anticipated face off.
President Poroshenko spoke alone to thousands of people in the capital Kiev’s Olympic Stadium.
The two presidentiables had agreed to the televised debate last week, but failed to agree on the date it would take place.
Zelensky favored this coming Friday, two days before they go head to head in the election run-off.
The current leader, who is trailing his rival after winning just 16% of the first round vote, appears to now be hoping to capitalize on Zelensky’s failure to arrive at Kiev’s Olympiyskiy Stadium for the televised face-off.
But instead the incumbent used his 45-minute wait at the podium to answer journalists’ questions, and attack his absent rival.
Poroshenko, who critics say has not done enough to fight issues like corruption in the Eastern European nation, dubbed the election campaign a “silent movie”, and accused Zelensky of being afraid.
“If he hides from people again, if he is afraid, we will invite him again. We will invite him every day to every live show for the whole country to see who it is going to elect for the next five years,” he told the crowds and television cameras on his arrival.