Ukraine is preparing for a presidential election on Sunday amid accusations that the establishment will use fraudulent means to swing the vote towards its candidate.
Europe and the US are watching the poll closely, urging Kiev to ensure the ballot is free and fair. Brussels is particularly concerned by media bias towards the candidate favoured by the outgoing president. Opposition candidate Victor Yushenko has urged his supporters to get together outside polling stations to make sure there is no foul play. He has accused his political challenger of trying to kill him twice and says he has had to move his family to a safe location. He also claims his supporters have been harrassed Yushenko is standing on a pro-Western platform. Current prime minister, Victor Yanukovych, is the candidate endorsed by outgoing head of state Leonid Kuchma. He wants to strengthen Ukraine’s ties to Russia and he appears to have Moscow’s implicit backing. With a total of 24 candidates running, a second round vote is considered almost certain.