Sunday, January 17, 2010

Presidential election to be a referendum on Yushchenko's term of office

First round vote on Viktor Yushchenko's fate to be determined today in what is a referendum on his term of office.

Seventeen candidates in total are running against him, four from his own political faction.

Yushchenko's party Our Ukraine normally receives around 14% of the national vote.  The polls have him pegged on around 4%.

Yushchenko has never been in a winning position even with 14% he would not be re-elected. The combined support of all candidates associated with Our Ukraine is less then 12% according to the recent polls. That's 2% less then the 2006 and 2007 Parliamentary elections.

Yushchenko's forces are divided.  Every vote for another candidate is one vote less for Yushchenko. He will be judged on the extent of his support  and every percentage point he falls below 14% . His first hurdle will be to out poll Yatseniuk.

Arseniy Yatseniuk has lost a lot of ground over the course of the campaign.  He started out with around 11% to 14% and headed south to a low of 6%.

Voting commences at 8:00 AM local time and end at 18:00.  The first exit polls are expected to be released at around 20:00 Kyiv time.  Voting will still be in play in Canada and the United States.