Dubbed the ‘Chocolate King’, he looks set to become Ukraine’s next president.
But Petro Poroshenko’s likely triumph and Sunday’s election itself could be disrupted in eastern regions of the former Soviet republic where pro-Russian separatists have seized strategic points in several cities.
Way ahead of all rivals in the opinion polls, Poroshenko, a confectionery tycoon, is also a seasoned politician who served as foreign minister and economy minister in previous administrations.
One poll indicates he could get a whopping 53 percent of support form those who say they will vote at the weekend, meaning he could win an outright victory in the first round
The surveys make less pleasant reading for his rival Yulia Tymoshenko.
Freed from jail amid the euphoria of victory in the Independence Square Revolution, the ex-prime minister has a mere 10 percent support in the same poll, despite saying that she alone can save the nation from disaster.
Ukraine’s struggling pro-Western interim authorities see the election as a vital step in restoring stability, but another survey indicates that only a third of voters in the east are likely to cast their ballots on Sunday.