Ukraine poll foresees big election win for pro-Poroshenko bloc

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 10, 2014 7:32 AM

KIEV (Reuters) - A bloc supporting President Petro Poroshenko looks set to register a strong win in a parliamentary election in Ukraine overshadowed by the separatist conflict in the east, according to a poll published on Friday.

Poroshenko, elected by a landslide last May after the overthrow of a Moscow-backed predecessor, is looking to the Oct. 26 vote to provide further legitimacy to the new pro-Western order in Kiev and backing for his plan to bring peace to the eastern regions while keeping them within Ukraine.

The poll by the GfK research group suggested the pro-Poroshenko bloc would win 29.9 percent of the vote against 8.7 percent for the second-placed party of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The Radical Party, led by populist politician Oleh Lyashko, was in third place with 7.6 percent.

The findings suggest a drastically different parliament is likely to emerge with the political eclipse of many figures close to the pro-Moscow Viktor Yanukovich who have held on to their seats despite his ousting as president by street protests.

After months of turmoil, which has included Russia's annexation of the Crimea peninsula as well as the separatist rebellions, Yanukovich's Regions Party has been virtually extinguished as a political force.

Most of its members have thrown their hand in with the Opposition Bloc of former Fuel Minister Yury Boiko and the Strong Ukraine party of former banker Serhiy Tigipko.

The GfK poll covered only half of the 450 parliamentary seats for which deputies are elected on party lists and did not include 225 seats which are elected on a first-past-the-post basis.

In the past, many of these so-called single-mandate deputies were financed by business interests and, under Yanukovich, tended to back the Regions Party majority in parliament.

But, with the dynamics of the new political establishment still in flux over how to handle the separatist rebellions in the east, it is hard to predict how many of them will automatically join any presidential coalition.

Friday's poll suggested that five political groups were likely to pass the five percent threshold required for entry into parliament.

GfK said People's Front, led by Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk who is an ally of Poroshenko, and former Ukrainian Defense Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko's Civil Position both had a good chance of passing the bar with the support of 7.0 and 7.3 percent respectively.

It did not foresee either Tigipko or Boiko's parties reaching the threshold.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk,; Writing by Richard Balmforth, Editing by Timothy Heritage)