Yanukovych headed towards Ukraine win

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Former prime minister Viktor Yanukovych could secure a victory in Ukraine’s upcoming presidential run-off, according to a poll by the Kyiv International Sociology Institute. 55.9 per cent of respondents would support Yanukovych of the Party of Regions (PR) in next month’s ballot, while 40.7 per cent would vote for current prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

A series of public demonstrations took place in Kiev after the November 2004 presidential run-off. The Ukrainian Supreme Court eventually invalidated the results of the second round, and ordered a special re-vote. Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko—whose supporters wore orange-coloured clothing at events and rallies—received 51.99 per cent of all cast ballots, defeating Yanukovych.

In 2006, the PR secured 186 seats in the Supreme Council. Yanukovych eventually became prime minister in a coalition government with the Socialist Party (SPU) and the KPU. After a long political stalemate and disagreements between the president and prime minister, a new legislative ballot took place in September 2007.

Final election results released in October gave the “orange forces”—including the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Yushchenko’s People’s Union-Our Ukraine (NS-NU)—228 seats, while Yanukovych and his allies took control of 202 seats. In December, Tymoshenko was ratified as prime minister, with the support of 225 lawmakers.

In September 2008, Ukraine’s governing coalition split in great part due to disagreements over a Georgia-Russia conflict. In the days following an incursion by Russian forces into South Ossetia, a Georgian breakaway province, Yushchenko asked the government to fiercely condemn Russia’s actions in Georgia, but Tymoshenko refused to take a strong stance against Russia. Yushchenko left the coalition as a result. A new parliamentary election was scheduled for December 2008, but was later postponed indefinitely on account of the global economic crisis.

The first round of this year’s presidential election took place on Jan. 17. Final results gave Yanukovych a first place finish with 35.32 per cent of the vote, followed by Tymoshenko with 25.05 per cent. Since no candidate garnered more than 50 per cent of all cast ballots, a run-off will take place on Feb. 7

On election day, Yanukovych expressed his satisfaction with the results, saying, “Today marks the end of Orange power. (…) There will be no room for [Yushchenko] in the second round. He has officially lost the faith of the people.”

In the first round, incumbent Yushchenko—who sought a new term in office—finished in fifth place with only 5.45 per cent of the vote.

Polling Data

Which candidate would you vote for in the presidential run-off?

Viktor Yanukovych 55.9%
Yulia Tymoshenko 40.7%
Against all candidates 3.4%

Source: Kyiv International Sociology Institute
Methodology: Interviews with 2,002 Ukrainian adults, conducted from Jan. 4 to jan. 13, 2010. Margin of error is 2.5 per cent.