Voters in Ukraine are heading to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president. But the country’s snap elections come amid growing uncertainty over Ukraine’s future, and continued instability in the East. CCTV’s Roee Ruttenberg explains from Kiev.
Ukraine Presidential Election to be Held on SundayVoters in Ukraine are heading to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president. But the country's snap elections come amid growing uncertainty over Ukraine's future, and continued instability in the East. CCTV's Roee Ruttenberg explains from Kiev.
It’s been dubbed a historic election by some; an illegitimate one by others. Millions of Ukrainians are casting their ballots months ahead of time for the country’s next president.
Just a few months ago, most thought that was unimaginable as authorities clashed with demonstrators in the capital, leaving dozens dead. Ukraine’s then-President Viktor Yanukovych headed to Russia — his longtime ally. A new parliament called for a new vote to replace him.
Within a month, ethnic-Russians in the region of Crimea broke away from Ukraine. Two months later, armed opposition groups in the Eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk said: they’d followed suit. Ukraine has recognized neither. And a violent confrontation between separatists and the authorities there continues.
Still, the government vowed to push ahead with elections.
“We hope that the presidential election will solve these problems.”
“We have who to choose from and it is fully legitimate, everything is normal.”
The front runner is Petro Poroshenko. One of Ukraine’s richest men, he’s a former Economy Minister and Foreign Minister.
Trailing behind him is Yulia Tymoshenko. A former prime minister, she’s considered Russia’s favored choice.
“All those people who were before in power are now going to get into power again. I am not expecting any kind of radical changes.
“I believe that we are voting in order to elect the least possible of evils.”
Many had wanted to see new faces. But experts say: that would’ve been tough.
Evgen Magda, a plotical analyst, told CCTV reporter: “The cast of people who’d work for government in return for a decent salary and stay politically independent doesn’t exist yet. That’s why there’s this feeling, like nothing has changed. But the wheels of a state as big as Ukraine are quite huge, so it’s hard to change quickly.”
The government admits it’ll take time. But says: Sunday’s vote is a step in the right direction.