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Tension is rising between candidates in Sunday's presidential election in Ukraine, with Yulia Tymoshenko accusing her main rival of preparing huge fraud.
Mrs Tymoshenko, the prime minister, said a "deliberate disruption of the election process" was taking place on behalf of rival Viktor Yanukovych.
Mr Yanukovych's official victory in the 2004 election was later ruled to be fraudulent and overturned.
He dismissed the claims, saying only the ruling party could arrange fraud.
The election is on January 17, and will no doubt be watched closely both by US and EU.
Originally posted by john124
heard the going rate was around £10-£15 for poor Ukrainians to vote for the pro-commie party.
Originally posted by Iamonlyhuman
Very interesting. What's your take on the impact of the October/November super virus on the elections? I do believe that it was bio-warfare and that it was intended to sway, one way or the other, the vote. Which of the candidates, and their backers, would benefit from this?
Ukraine's presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych said he might introduce several amendments to the Constitution in case he wins the January 17 elections.
Former premier and Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych is leading the presidential race in the ex-Soviet country. VTsIOM, a Russian pollster, said on Wednesday 30.5% of those surveyed will back Yanukovych who is followed by Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko with 13.9%.
"I believe that within a relatively short period of time we will specify some provisions of the Ukrainian Constitution and, possibly, introduce some amendments," Yanukovych in an interview with Ukraine's Inter television channel.
The pro-Russian presidential candidate also said that if he is elected the president of Ukraine, he would "kindly ask" Tymoshenko to lead the opposition.
"She is a natural oppositionist... This is a natural position for her. I believe she would be an effective leader of the opposition," he added.
Both Yanukovych and Tymoshenko pledged to protest against the results if they lose the vote, echoing the 2004 mass street protests known as the "orange revolution" that brought current President Viktor Yushchenko to power amid election fraud accusations against Yanukovych.
KIEV, Ukraine – In the final hours of the Ukraine's bitterly fought presidential campaign, candidates accused one another of planning to commit campaign fraud and experts warned of the possibility of post-election unrest.
Foes of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko released a tape this week of a purported conversation between her and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, in which he supposedly says he is sending 2,000 "battle-ready" observers to monitor the race.
"No worries, we are sending the best prepared and most battle-ready people to you," the voice alleged to be Saakashvili's says on the tape, which was played Friday at a panel of analysts and sociologists.
Evgeny Kopatko, chief sociologist at Ukraine's R&B Group, a consultancy, said Friday that if tensions rise after the election, that "could split the country in two, and this is a very serious risk, economically and politically. The country would be virtually uncontrollable."
Parliament speaker Vladimir Litvin on Friday appealed to supporters of Ukraine's rival political leaders, urging not to take to the streets as they did in 2004.
Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Russia will be the only certain winner in Ukraine’s presidential election on Jan. 17, as pro- Western incumbent Viktor Yushchenko is expected to bow out to rivals seen as more friendly toward Moscow, analysts said.
“For Russia it can be called a win-win situation, since any result is better than the current situation,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs magazine. “Whoever becomes the next president will be much less ideological and more businesslike.”
Still, Russia shouldn’t expect Ukraine’s next president to be a pushover as gas contracts and the future of the Black Sea fleet will continue to be contentious issues, according to Lukyanov.
“Anybody will be more flexible and not provoke Moscow as much as Yushchenko,” Lukyanov said. “But even Yanukovych won’t turn out to be a puppet meeting Russia’s every demand.”
Originally posted by ufoorbhunter
I get the impression this has verything to do with US success in the Middle East re Iraq and Afghanistan and maybe even the Iranian nuke question too.
Originally posted by ufoorbhunter
Maybe if Russia gets its way in its own lands of influence then maybe Iran will be stopped from getting nukes in whatever way one can imagine.
Originally posted by ufoorbhunter
I just get the idea that a deal will be done resulting from the outcome of the Ukraine question.
Ukraine's opposition Party of Regions has warned of a possible attempt to disrupt the country's presidential vote as three charter flights from Georgia carrying over 400 "athletic men" landed in the country.
On Sunday Ukraine will hold presidential elections. With former premier Viktor Yanukovych expected to win the first round of voting, after which he is likely to face a run-off against current premier Yulia Tymoshenko, pro-Western incumbent Viktor Yushchenko's time in office would seem to be over.
On Friday two charter flights from with of 297 Georgian men onboard landed in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Some of them had lists of all polling stations in the region. The Georgians, aged from 25 to 40, told border guards that the purpose of their visit was to meet with Ukrainian girls they met on social networking sites.
On Saturday another charter flight from Georgia with some 120 male passengers landed in the capital Kiev. The official purpose of their visit is unknown.
The Georgians were to "interfere in the electoral process... with an aim to change the outcome of the elections and disrupt the vote," party member Mykola Azarov told a news conference on Saturday.
Ukraine's central election body had earlier refused to register over 3,000 observers, sent by Georgia to Sunday's presidential polls, citing the absence of necessary documents. The number of monitors from the Caucasus state exceeded the total number of observers sent by other states and international organizations.
A source in the Georgian opposition told RIA Novosti the visitors were related to Georgian special services and the military.
"The vast majority of them are servicemen. Some have identity documents with other names, almost all had undergone special training and have close-combat skills," the source said.
He said they were to receive bonuses ranging from $20,000 to $32,000.
Party of Regions said it would seek visa regime with Georgia if an attempt to interfere in the elections is proved.
Ukrainians are voting in the country's first presidential election since the Orange Revolution in 2004 when protests led to the results being overturned.
The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse, in Kiev, says there is much disillusionment among voters over the failure to tackle corruption and links with the EU.
If no-one wins more than 50% of the vote, a second round run-off will be held in February.
Warnings of unrest
The leading candidates have accused each other of trying to rig the election, and there have been warnings of unrest after the vote.
In an effort to boost confidence in the election, foreign observers have spread out across Ukraine to monitor voting.
Jens-Hagen Eschenbacher, of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said about 600 OSCE election monitors are in place, as well as thousands of other foreign observers.
The Orange Revolution led Ukrainians to expect sweeping changes - integration with Europe and an end to corruption, our correspondent says.
But the reality has not lived up to expectations and there is widespread disillusionment with politicians across the spectrum, he adds.
Yanukovych has indicated he would follow Russia in recognizing the former Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia if elected, and has also criticized attempts to blame Russia for the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine.
Tymoshenko has pledged that if elected president in January 17 polls she would seek EU membership for the ex-Soviet state as soon as possible.
Yanukovych will most likely win the first round of elections and hold a run-off election with Tymoshenko, a political analyst told RIA Novosti on Saturday.
"Yanukovych will be ahead probably by 12%. Tymoshenko's team is still confident she can catch up, she can still win, but the gap must be small, less than 10%," Andrew Wilson from the European Council on Foreign Relations said.
If election polls on Sunday show a 15% lead in favor of Yanukovych over Tymoshenko, then she will not have a chance in the run-offs, Wilson said.
He also said that if Tymoshenko loses the first round by 10%-15% to Yanukovych, then street protests and legal suits will be brought to the country's Arbitration Court by Tymoshenko.
Wilson believes presidential candidate Serhiy Tyhypko, favored in third place, could play a "key figure" in a run-off election between Yanukovych and Tymoshenko. According to the political analyst, Tyhypko is currently taking votes away from Yanukovych, which Tymoshenko needs to secure her position. Tyhypko would ask his constituents to vote for one of the other two candidates in the run-off.
The 2004 Orange Revolution swept Ukraine's old order from power and raised hopes of a new era free of Kremlin influence for the country of 46 million that would set a precedent for other former Soviet states.
But President Viktor Yushchenko, the pro-EU figurehead of the Revolution, is set to record a dismal single digit rating and be eliminated in the first round, punished for failing to end corruption and implement urgent reforms.
"I voted for Yanukovich. I am sick of the Orange leaders. I want stability. These last five years were madness," said Volodymyr Efremenko, 54, a manual labourer, as he cast his vote in a Kiev school.
Yanukovich -- an ex-mechanic jailed twice for petty crime in the Soviet Union -- was ingloriously beaten in 2004 after the Orange Revolution street protests forced a re-run of presidential polls marred by mass vote-rigging in his favour.
Tymoshenko, famed for her peasant-style blonde hair braid, is seen as more in favour of EU integration than Yanukovich but has also played up her close ties to Russian strongman Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
"Today is not just the election of a candidate but when Ukraine determines its future for the next decades," Tymoshenko declared as she voted in her home city of Dnipropetrovsk alongside her rarely-seen businessman husband Olexander.
Partial results from Ukraine put pro-Moscow opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych on course for a narrow win in the country's presidential election.
With more than half the votes counted Mr Yanukovych had a 4% lead over his rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
He has challenged Mrs Tymoshenko to quit, but she refused to concede.
If confirmed, it would be a remarkable comeback for Mr Yanukovych, who was swept aside five years ago by the peaceful "Orange Revolution".
Under the 59-year-old former mechanic, Ukraine's foreign policy is expected to become more pro-Russian.
The BBC's Richard Galpin in Kiev says a Yanukovych win would be an extraordinary indictment of the pro-Western Orange Revolution leaders' failure to deliver on their promises, which has left people deeply disillusioned.
Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko plans to legally challenge the results of the presidential runoff that opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych appears to have won, her campaign said Tuesday.
Tymoshenko has canceled two planned appearances since the polls closed Sunday night. Her allies say she will not concede until appeals have run their course and recounts have taken place at a number of polling stations.
The official announcement of complete results is expected Wednesday. Thousands of Yanukovych supporters are gathering outside the headquarters of the Central Election Commission in a rally Yanukovych's team says was organized to defend the results of the election.
According to the election commission, Yanukovych is leading in Sunday's vote by 3.5 percentage points with only 0.02 percent of precincts left to count.
Originally posted by Romanian
Yes , Russia is mad to see all the old sphere of influence collapsing, with nation deciding for their freedom.
Originally posted by Romanian
In the Moldavian republic (west of Ucraine) they also tried their best to keep the communist dictator on power. They lost but not without a "bang" ..