Interview: Situation in Ukraine stable before presidential election -- experts

 The situation in Ukraine on the eve of the presidential election scheduled for Sunday is stable and the voting is likely to be held in two rounds, Ukrainian experts have told Xinhua.

Volodymyr Fesenko, director of the Penta Center for Applied Political Studies, said that he expects no street protests, known locally as "Maidan," after the election like it was in 2004.

"I do not think that there will be a big Maidan. Now, the absolute majority of people, especially before Easter, will not go to the streets," Fesenko said.

The upcoming elections will be the seventh since Ukraine's independence in 1991. This time, a record number of 39 candidates will participate in the election.

According to various opinion polls, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko and actor Volodymyr Zelensky are viewed as front-runners in the presidential race.

Most experts agree that the elections will be held in two rounds as no candidate has a chance to gain more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round.

"The repeat of the 1991 and the 2014 elections, when the president won in the first round, is unrealistic today. The leader would gain a maximum of 30 to 35 percent of the vote, according to polls. This is clearly not enough," said Ruslan Bortnik, an analyst at the Ukrainian Institute of Analysis and Management of Policy.

Bortnik said he believes Zelensky and Poroshenko have the best chances to qualify for a run-off.

"The chances of Zelensky to advance to the second round are 60 percent, those of Poroshenko are 50 percent, and those of Tymoshenko are 40 percent," Bortnik estimated.

Another political expert, Olena Diachenko, said she thinks that Poroshenko has little chances to be re-elected for the second term.

While the chances of Poroshenko and Tymoshenko to advance to the second round of elections are disputed, most experts have no doubt that Zelensky will be one of the participants of the run-off as he leads the majority of the opinion polls.

Alexander Okhrimenko, the head of Kiev-based Ukrainian Analytical Center, said that people support Zelensky as they perceive him as an alternative candidate to the politicians of the old regime.

"It is highly likely that Zelensky would advance to the second round......he is not linked to corruption, he is not linked to the previous government, but he does not have experience in the state structures. But he is popular because a large number of Ukrainian voters do not want to vote for old politicians," Okhrimenko said.

Дата публикации: 
01.04.2019 - 11