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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid