17 Jan 2010

Campaigning over in Ukraine election

7:33 am on 17 January 2010

Election campaigning by presidential candidates is over in Ukraine. Voters will go to the polls on Sunday.

There is no campaigning on Saturday.

Opinion polls suggest the favourite is Viktor Yanukovych, whose victory in 2004 was annulled by the Orange Revolution, when the poll result was overturned by massive street protests.

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko - one of the Orange leaders - has also polled strongly. The BBC reports a second-round runoff vote is expected next month.

Analysts predict that President Viktor Yushchenko will be eliminated in the first round.

The front-runners have accused each other of attempting to rig the result.

Mr Yanukovych's victory in the 2004 presidential election was reversed after street protests prompted by accusations of fraud. He has warned candidates against trying to steal the current election.

The BBC reports there is widespread disappointment with lack of progress over the past five years.

Both Mr Yanukovych and Ms Tymoshenko favour closer ties with Russia.