Ukraine prepares for presidential vote

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Ukraine prepares for presidential vote

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With Ukraine’s presidential poll said by some to be too close to call, the candidates could be forgiven for praying for divine intervention a day before the decisive second round.

Victor Yanukovich attended a Russian Orthodox service at Kiev’s Pechersk monastery – following close in the footsteps of Yulia Tymoshenko – his rival for Ukraine’s top job.

As the curtain came down on her final campaign rally last night, the prime minister stood alongside religious leaders and appealed for forgiveness for the failings of her government.

Amid claims and counter accusations of vote-rigging, analysts predicted that a narrow victory for either side would see cries of foul from the other’s supporters.

But European election observers said they did not expect any unrest on the streets.

Joao Soares, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President said: “I don’t think there is a real possibility of a major falsification in the elections that are taking place in Ukraine. The major problem is to have one of the candidates accepting the defeat.”

A victory for Yanukovich would mark the end of the 2004 Orange Revolution during which he was portrayed as the corrupt arch-villain in Moscow’s pocket.

But the insults traded during the campaign make a post-election alliance hard to imagine – further delaying Ukraine’s return to stability.