Ukraine's presidential election season took an interesting turn over the weekend, as Darth Vader declared his candidacy for the nation's highest office, promising that he knows what it takes to rebuild an empire.
"I alone can make an empire out of a republic to restore former glory, to return lost territories and pride for this country," said Vader, according to Agence France-Presse.
Vader (or, at least, someone wearing a costume of the Star Wars character) has filed paperwork with the Central Elections Commission to make his candidacy official for Ukraine's presidential election, slated for May 25.
As he announced his run Saturday, Vader was flanked by the Royal Guard; as is often the case, several Imperial Stormtroopers were also nearby as the Sith Lord spoke, wearing his trademark black helmet and cape. And in a sign that he might be more skilled in coalition-building than has been recognized, Vader's news conference included another Star Wars character: his frequent enemy, Chewbacca.
It's not the first time Vader has ventured into the public sphere in Ukraine. Last fall, he took a squad of Stormtroopers to Ukraine's Ministry of Justice to deliver his party's charter. They were blocked at the door.
And in 2011, he sought land that could be used as a landing pad for a space cruiser in the port city of Odessa. He was inspired to make the move, he said, after noticing that several officials had "switched to the dark side."
"I am Darth Vader, the right hand of Emperor Palpatine," he told police at a government building, Reuters reported. A YouTube video of Vader's outing was set to "The Imperial March."
In what was probably a wise move, the request seems to have been denied. Vader later proclaimed himself Odessa's new mayor.
Vader isn't the only presidential candidate in Ukraine with a movie tie-in. Front-runner Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire who built his fortune in the confections industry, is known by the nickname Willy Wonka.