News / Europe

Ukraine's Poroshenko Seeks First Round Poll Win, Says Stability at Stake

Ukrainian businessman, politician and presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko (L) meets his supporters during his election rally in the city of Kryvyi Rih May 17, 2014.
Ukrainian businessman, politician and presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko (L) meets his supporters during his election rally in the city of Kryvyi Rih May 17, 2014.
Reuters
The man tipped to win Ukraine's presidential election, Petro Poroshenko, appealed to voters on Wednesday to hand him victory outright in Sunday's first round of voting or face a risk of “destabilization” that might prevent a second-round runoff.
 
Opinion polls make Poroshenko, a confectionery magnate, the runaway favorite to win the election, which Kyiv's interim leaders say is vital to restore stability in a country facing Russian hostility and a separatist revolt in its eastern region.
 
Billed as Ukraine's most important election since it became independent of Moscow in 1991, it was called after street protests toppled Kremlin-backed Viktor Yanukovych in February. He fled to Russia, which then seized Ukraine's Crimea and inspired separatist revolts in Russian-speaking eastern towns.
 
Poroshenko, 48, known as the “chocolate king” because of his business interests, could win more than the 50 percent of votes needed on Sunday to win outright and avoid a second round on June 15 - a scenario he said would be best for stability.
Petro Poroshenko (R) accepts a gift from supporters during his election campaign in Odessa May 21, 2014.Petro Poroshenko (R) accepts a gift from supporters during his election campaign in Odessa May 21, 2014.
x
Petro Poroshenko (R) accepts a gift from supporters during his election campaign in Odessa May 21, 2014.
Petro Poroshenko (R) accepts a gift from supporters during his election campaign in Odessa May 21, 2014.
 

“Today, let us be realistic: if the election is not over in the first round, the second round might not take place. The level of destabilization might be such that we will have to fight for legitimacy,” he said during a visit to the Black Sea port of Odessa, according to Interfax news agency.
 
Poroshenko appeared to be suggesting that further pressure from Russia, which has had tens of thousands of troops massed near the border with Ukraine, or a surge in action by the pro-Russia separatists who control key towns and buildings in the east, could derail the election.
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has condemned the overthrow of Yanukovych as a coup, continued to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Ukraine's election on Wednesday. He said during a state visit to China that it would be more logical for Kyiv to hold the vote after a referendum on a new constitution.
 
“It will be very hard for us to build relations with people who come to power against the backdrop of a continuing punitive operation in southern and southeastern Ukraine,” Putin said, referring to anti-separatist military operations by Kyiv's forces.
 
High turnout seen
 
Former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a dominant figure in Ukrainian politics for over a decade but whose star has faded amid the turmoil and after a jail sentence, trails well behind Poroshenko in second place in the opinion polls.
Former Ukrainian prime minister and current presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko (R) meets supporters during her election campaign in the city of Konotop May 21, 2014. Campaigning for Ukraine's presidential election, Tymoshenko says she alone can saveFormer Ukrainian prime minister and current presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko (R) meets supporters during her election campaign in the city of Konotop May 21, 2014. Campaigning for Ukraine's presidential election, Tymoshenko says she alone can save
x
Former Ukrainian prime minister and current presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko (R) meets supporters during her election campaign in the city of Konotop May 21, 2014. Campaigning for Ukraine's presidential election, Tymoshenko says she alone can save
Former Ukrainian prime minister and current presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko (R) meets supporters during her election campaign in the city of Konotop May 21, 2014. Campaigning for Ukraine's presidential election, Tymoshenko says she alone can save
 

With emotions still high after months of upheaval in which dozens of anti-Yanukovych protesters were shot dead by police, Ukraine looks set to record one of its biggest election turnouts ever, despite the loss of Crimea and the separatists' determination to prevent voting in the towns they hold.
 
The Committee for Voters of Ukraine, a watchdog body, expected a turnout of at least 70 percent and possibly as high as 80 percent - which would be significantly more than the 69 percent registered in the run-off vote in 2010 which brought Yanukovych to power at the expense of Tymoshenko.
 
“Today 60 percent of Ukrainians declare that they will definitely vote and approximately 20 percent more say that they are likely to take part... We predict no less than 70 percent of citizens will take part,” said Oleksander Chernenko, president of the Committee for Voters of Ukraine.
 
Turnout was expected to be particularly high in the capital and in the nationalist-minded western regions, he added.
 
Election officials in the eastern industrial hub of Donetsk, where separatists have declared an independent “people's republic,” said this week that harassment and intimidation had forced them to close down the five electoral commission bodies in the city of one million.
 
However, some residents of Donetsk and of nearby Luhansk are expected to travel outside their regions to cast their ballot on Sunday. The two regions have a combined electorate of 5.1 million in a country with a total voter base of 35.5 million.
 
Authorities have also provided for Ukrainians and members of the Turkic-speaking Tatar minority on the Crimean peninsula, seized by Russia in March, to vote elsewhere in the country.
 
Ironically, frontrunner Poroshenko will be helped by the boycott in the east, which is not where he draws most support. The boycott will mainly hit two of his opponents, businessman Mykhailo Dobkin and banker-politician Serhiy Tihipko.
 
About 1,000 election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are fanning out around the ex-Soviet republic of 46 million people for Sunday's poll.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

Studies point to possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More