Ukrainians go to the polls in a crucial election on Sunday which could determine the nation’s future course; closer towards Europe, or returning to the Russian fold.
The outcome of the presidential election is unclear. While former prime minister Viktor Yanukovich holds a significant lead in opinion polls, when the 16 failed candidates drop out for the February second round, his rival may pick up the lion’s share of those votes.
Around 20 percent of the electorate is undecided. Most people feel they have missed out on the fruits of Urkaine’s “Orange revolution” in 2004, but its principle survivor, Prime Minister Julia Timochenko, is the likliest to emerge as Yanukovich’s competitor for the second round.
However making recent gains is the former central bank governor Sergei Tiguipko. Some polls suggest he could be the successful challenger by snatching Sunday’s second spot. After revolutionary optimism pessimism has set in among the electorate, and turnout will be a key indicator of Ukraine’s democratic progress.