Former boxer Vitali Klitschko re-elected as Kiev mayor

Kiev's mayor Vitaly Klitschko speaks to media after casting his vote on November 15, 2015 (AFP Photo/Yuri Kirnichny)
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Kiev (AFP) - Former world heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko has been re-elected mayor of Ukraine's capital Kiev, final results of a runoff vote showed on Monday.

The 44-year-old -- who is an ally of pro-Western President Petro Poroshenko -- won 66.5 percent of the vote in a second-round election Sunday after failing to secure half the ballots cast in the first round.

Klitschko -- who was one of the most prominent leaders of the pro-Europe rallies that transformed Ukraine in 2014 -- beat Boryslav Bereza, a former member of the paramilitary ultra-nationalist group Pravy Sector, into second place.

Klitschko was first elected mayor of the city of three million on a wave of hope in May 2014 following the ouster of Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovych.

While he still enjoys support as a sporting-legend and pro-European, critics say he has failed to deliver on plans to redevelop the city's ageing Soviet infrastructure.

"I will do my best to meet the expectations of the people of Kiev," Klitschko said late Sunday, minutes after preliminary election results were announced.

The vote in Kiev was part of a wider round of elections across Ukraine seen as a key step for the country as it grapples with a pro-Russian insurgency in the east and economic turmoil.

Klitschko remains a strong ally of Poroshenko whose support helped the former boxer to do well in the polls.

The Ukrainian president hailed Sunday's elections even though observers pointed to a number of minor violations.

"Ukraine has passed an extremely important democracy test," he said in televised remarks late Sunday.

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