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Former President Yanukovych Aims to Regain Power In Ukraine

The last time Victor Yanukovych ran for President of Ukraine, his declared victory set off the Orange Revolution. Five years later, he leads the Party of Regions into the first round of elections ahead over Pro-Western PM Yulia Tymoshenko by 29%-20% with current President Victor Yushchenko trailing with 5%. President Yushchenko has been marred by an 18% contraction in the Ukrainian economy and a refusal by the IMF to grant loans because of a new law that will increase wages and pensions but that the IMF fears will make it improbable for Ukraine to repay their loans.

Poll of Ukrainian Voters. Via Razumov Center/WSJ.

While no candidate is expected to avoid the runoff election by winning more than 50% of the first round votes, if Yanukovych wins he promises to scale back Ukraine’s drive for NATO membership. During Yushchenko’s tenure, Ukraine suffered a chill in relations with Russia, which has repeatedly led Russia to threaten to stop selling gas to East Ukraine. When he was President, Yanukovych had to deal with claims of being a Russian “puppet” and it was widely believed that Russian agents rigged the 2004 election in his favor.

For more reading, click here WSJ.


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