The final preparations are going into place for Sunday’s Presidential election in Ukraine.
It has been a busy day for all concerned, election officials and observers who are keen to avoid a repeat of the second round debacle of voterigging and fraud that invalidated the result in late November, and forced this re-run. This time it is hoped a clear and uncontested winner will emerge from the poll, after a campaign marked by accusations of dirty tricks and foreign intervention, but the victor may not be known immediately as complicated appeals procedures may delay the official announcement for weeks. To add to the confusion the Constitutuional Court ruled on the eve of the vote that some electoral reforms were invalid, and restored postal voting, blamed in the last round as a source of much cheating. To try and prevent the instability continuing the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe has deployed thousands of observers, more than in November, to oversee the vote and they are optimistic this time it will be fairer. The opposition’s Viktor Yushchenko believes he was cheated of victory last time and in the West his orange electoral colours abound. His final campaign acts were to help decorate trees with his wife, and he is confident the opinion polls predicting his win are right. The outgoing president’s favourite Viktor Yanukovich has made sure the east of the country is blue, but that may not be enough to stop the wind of change whose time may have come to sweep away his old guard.But it may still leave the country deeply divided.