Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Rwandan singer amongst terror plot suspects

Read more

DEBATE

What's Putin's Plan? Kiev Accuses Russia of Terrorism

Read more

FOCUS

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

ENCORE!

Art, sex, money, memory and manga

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Spat over Iran's UN ambassador hampers thawing relations with US

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

  • Frantic search for South Korea ferry passengers continues

    Read more

  • Kiev powerless as pro-Russia activists seize armoured vehicles

    Read more

  • Algeria heads to the polls: ‘this election has nothing to do with us’

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in eastern Congo

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

Europe

Pro-Russian politician set to sweep presidential election

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-01-16

Polls in the Ukraine showed Pro-Russia politician Viktor Yanukovich (pictured) with a clear lead going into Sunday's presidential election.

AFP - Pro-Russia politician Viktor Yanukovich was on course Saturday to sweep the first round of Ukraine's presidential polls, five years after vote-rigging by his supporters sparked the Orange Revolution.
  
Polls showed Yanukovich with a clear lead going into Sunday's elections, albeit without the majority required to avoid a second round run-off against his main challenger, the glamorous Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
  
The Orange Revolution protests of late 2004 swept Ukraine's old order from power and created hopes of a new era of prosperity and European integration for the country of 46 million people bridging the EU and Russia.
  
But amid grave public disillusionment after five years of botched reform and political stalemate, the Revolution's hero, pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko, is set to be bundled out in the first round.
  
With Tymoshenko making much of her warm ties with Russia's strongman Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the outcome of the February 7 run-off is already being seen as good news for the Kremlin, which cut off all business with Yushchenko.
  
After a frenetic campaign that saw the main protagonists exchange stinging insults, Saturday was an official "day of calm" with all campaigning banned and campaign posters removed from the streets.
  
Yanukovich prayed at Kiev's millennium-old Caves Monastery, one of the most revered sites of Orthodox Christianity, declaring afterwards that he had asked for God's help and salvation.
  
All the main candidates spent the final hours of legal campaigning Friday exchanging bitter insults in separate appearances on television talkshows.
  
Tymoshenko attacked Yanukovich's intellectual capabilities, saying he was unable to distinguish Austria from Australia. "He just thinks that kangaroos live in both of them," she sniped.
  
Yanukovich spat back with another personal attack on the prime minister saying that while "whims beautify a woman, it’s not so in this case."
  
Yushchenko meanwhile declared that if either of the two others won, "we can say goodbye to our democracy, our independence and our sovereignty."
  
Yanukovich should win around 40 percent of the vote in the first round and Tymoshenko 23 percent, according to the latest polls by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology.
  
But analysts believe the image-conscious prime minister -- famed for her trademark hair braid -- can still make up ground in the run-off.
  
Third place is expected to go to businessman Sergiy Tigipko who appears to have made a late surge and is given an outside chance of springing a first round upset.
  
Yushchenko won the presidency in a re-run election in December 2004 ordered by the courts after tens of thousands took to the streets to accuse Yanukovich of vote-rigging in the original polls that he won.
  
Yushchenko and Tymoshenko were comrades-in-arms in the Orange Revolution but later became sworn enemies, their relationship poisoned by a perennial power struggle and mutual accusations of criminal wrongdoing.
  
Since 2004, Yanukovich has sought to reinvent himself with the help of Western PR strategists and to show he is not a servant of the Kremlin but a defender of Ukrainian interests.
  
He has also sought more support in the country's Ukrainian-speaking west -- traditionally the heartland of Tymoshenko and Yushchenko supporters -- while holding on to his powerbase in the Russian-speaking east.
  
The gloves-off campaign has also seen the pasts of the candidates once again dredged up.
  
Yanukovich was jailed twice in the Soviet era for theft and assault, though the convictions were erased in the late 1970s. Tymoshenko herself was briefly detained in 2001 on smuggling charges that were later quashed.
  
 

Date created : 2010-01-16

  • PETROLEUM

    Russia warns of oil supply cut-off through Ukraine, says Slovakia

    Read more

  • GAS

    Embattled Ukraine leader says Europe won't be left in the cold

    Read more

  • RUSSIA - UKRAINE

    Putin issues fresh gas warning to Yushchenko

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)