Ukraine gears up for Presidential Elections

Ukraine will vote to elect their sixth President on Sunday. The elections are seen as first test for President Petro Poroshenko ever since he had taken to top office in 2014 banking of the wave of Revolution of Dignity. There are around 35 million eligible voters in Ukraine but many millions of them are in the Crimea which is under Russian occupation and many others are in the rebel-held regions of eastern Ukraine will not be able to cast their votes.

Polling will open on Sunday at 8am and close exactly after 12 hours at 8pm. Counting of the votes will begin early Monday morning. If no candidate is able to secure 50 percent votes, a runoff will take place on April 21 between the top two runners.

There are 39 contenders in the contest but only 3 have strong chances of making it to victory as per the opinion poll. Recent surveys have suggested that a comedian-turned-politician Volodymr Zelensky is going to lead with 20.6 percent margin. Zelensky will be followed by the leader of the opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko with only about 13 percent.

President Poroshenko is expected to finish third with only 12.9 percent share. President told the media that he will accept the result of the vote no matter who wins. Observers from 18 countries will monitor the polls along with 139 members of Ukrainian civil society organisations as per the Ukraine’s Central Election Commission. Many international organisations have expressed concerns that the some of the organisations designated by CEC are actually far-right groups of Ukraine. The worry has also been expressed by the international watchdogs like Human Rights Watch and Freedom House.

It is stated by the official financial reports which had been given by the candidates to the CEC, that Poroshenko had spent around $15m on the campaigning, Tymoshenko spent around $6m and finally Zelensky spent around $4m. The law in the Ukraine prohibits use of state funds for campaigning of elections. Candidates thus have to depend on personal funds or donations for running the elections.

Ukraine is largely a war-torn nation where people are grappling with corruption in addition to the territorial unity and financial well-being of the country. Both the issues will be deciding factor of Sunday vote as both have led to fall in living standards and a price rise of goods and a slash in subsidies in the middle of rising inflation.

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