As Ukraine battles to stave off dark forces of its own, the Star Wars villain Darth Vader announced at the weekend he was running for president in a bid to restore glory to the downtrodden nation.

The Sith lord, or at least an unnamed costumed protester often seen on Kiev's Independence Square flanked by his loyal stormtroopers during the winter protests, has been chosen as the official candidate of the Ukrainian Internet Party (UIP) which has become known for its theatrical public stunts.

"After winning intra-party primaries by a landslide, comrade Vader will be our party's candidate," said the UIP leader, Dmitry Golubov, who spent time in prison after being convicted of using the Internet to run a credit card fraud scheme.

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Encased in black armor, with a black mask and cape, the party's Darth Vader has been involved in several political actions in the country.

In November 2013, he was carried by his stormtroopers to Odessa city hall, where he declared himself mayor.

According to local media reports, he has also reportedly demanded a plot of land to park his spaceship.

"I alone can make an empire out of a republic, to restore former glory, to return lost territories and pride for this country," Vader said in a party statement.

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The party said it had paid the required 2.5m hryvnia (£136,000) registration fee for its unusual candidate.

Ukraine is holding a snap presidential election on 25 May after parliament ousted the pro-Moscow leader Viktor Yanukovych as a result of bloody street protests against his government.

The UIP was registered in 2010 and aims to create an electronic government in Ukraine, transition to digital media and offer free computer courses to all citizens.