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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yanukovych, Tymoshenko Ahead in Ukraine

November 17, 2009

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Ukraine’s presidential election seems destined to be decided in a run-off, according to a poll by the Ukrainian Project System. 21.4 per cent of respondents would vote for former prime minister Viktor Yanukovych of the Party of Regions (PR), while 18.1 per cent would back current prime minister Yulia Timoshenko.

Former foreign affairs minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is third with 7.8 per cent, followed by Volodymyr Lytvyn of the Lytvyn Bloc with 6.9 per cent. Support is lower for Petro Symonenko of the Communist Party (KPU), current president Viktor Yushchenko, former economy minister Serhiy Tyhypko, Kyiv politician Oleksandr Pabat, and leader of the All-Ukrainian Union (Svoboda) Oleh Tiahnybok.

A series of public demonstrations took place in Kiev after the November 2004 presidential run-off. The Ukrainian Supreme Court eventually invalidated the results of the second round, and ordered a special re-vote. Opposition candidate Yushchenko—whose supporters wore orange-coloured clothing at events and rallies—received 51.99 per cent of all cast ballots, defeating Yanukovych.

In 2006, the PR secured 186 seats in the Supreme Council. Yanukovych eventually became prime minister in a coalition government with the Socialist Party (SPU) and the KPU. After a long political stalemate and disagreements between the president and prime minister, a new legislative ballot took place in September 2007.

Final election results released in October gave the "orange forces"—including the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Yushchenko’s People’s Union-Our Ukraine (NS-NU)—228 seats, while Yanukovych and his allies took control of 202 seats. In December, Tymoshenko was ratified as prime minister, with the support of 225 lawmakers.

In September 2008, Ukraine’s governing coalition split in great part due to disagreements over a Georgia-Russia conflict. In the days following an incursion by Russian forces into South Ossetia, a Georgian breakaway province, Yushchenko asked the government to fiercely condemn Russia’s actions in Georgia, but Tymoshenko refused to take a strong stance against Russia. Yushchenko left the coalition as a result. A new parliamentary election was scheduled for Dec. 14, but was later postponed indefinitely on account of the global economic crisis.

On Nov. 12, Yushchenko called Tymoshenko a "homeless person", declaring, "We speak about open society and honest power. Where does the prime minister, who has neither flat , land nor a car, get hundreds millions for election campaign from? She is a homeless person! How it is possible to be a homeless person in the country when you are 50 years old? It is a question of virtue and do not take this as an attack on Yulia Volodymyrivna. But when the prime minister, 50 years old, has neither house nor home, what answer she can give to nation for a question how to arrange the future."

The presidential election is expected to take place on Jan. 17, 2010.

Polling Data

Which candidate would you vote for in the presidential election?

Viktor Yanukovych 21.4%

Yulia Tymoshenko 18.1%

Arseniy Yatsenyuk 7.8%

Volodymyr Lytvyn 6.9%

Petro Symonenko 3.8%

Viktor Yushchenko 3.2%

Serhiy Tyhypko 2.1%

Oleksandr Pabat 1.5%

Oleh Tiahnybok 1.4%

Source: Ukrainian Project System
Methodology: Interviews with 1,200 Ukrainian adults, conducted from Nov. 4 to Nov. 10, 2009. Margin of error is 2.5 per cent.

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