High election turnout in Ukraine apart from troubled eastern regions

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High election turnout in Ukraine apart from troubled eastern regions

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There has been a high turnout across Ukraine on Sunday for the presidential elections with the exception of the troubled eastern regions where pro-Russian separatists shut down polling stations and prevented voting.

OSCE observers report that the voting process has been carefully organised.

The election is being billed as the most important since the country won independence from Moscow 23 years ago.

Polls have show tycoon Petro Poroshenko, known as the “chocolate king” for the fortune he made in the confectionery industry, in the lead. His nearest challenger is former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

If no one wins in the first round, a runoff will be held on 15 June.

Euronews correspondent in Kyiv, Angelina Kariakina says a high turnout was expected as there are hopes that electing a legitimate president would help stabilize the situation and start reforms that Ukrainians have been demanding for so long.

One voter in Kyiv said: “these elections will help to stop our neighbouring state from interfering in our affairs – we’ll have a legitimate president and we’ll build our future in Ukraine on our own.”

Another said: “we need a firm and decisive person, whose actions would help – both physically and morally resolve the situation in the troubled regions.”