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Monday, March 10, 2014

Who will be Ukraine's next President?

According to a recent poll, Petro Poroshenko, known as the "chocolate king" could be the next President of Ukraine.  He leads the race with 21 per cent support.  He's a rich confectionary tycoon who wants closer ties to the European Union.  When President Yanukovych abruptly backed out of a promised deal with the UN, Poroshenko played a major role in his demise.  He has been an Independent member of Parliament since 2012.

Some say Poroshenko has an axe to grind.  Russia banned his Roshen chocolates last year, citing safety concerns, but he said it was a bullying tactic to shock Ukrainian businesses into realizing just how much they need Russia to survive.  

Coming in second at 15 per cent of the vote, is leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform Party, boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, also known as "Dr Ironfist."  He's passionate about his country and made many anti-Russian statements during the protest in Kiev.  He has rock star status in the west and is the first world boxing champion to hold a PhD.  He won 41 matches by knockout and was World Champion three times.  He is the son of a Soviet air force pilot and his brother Wladimi is also a professional boxer.  

Next comes Yulia Tymoshenko with 10 per cent support.  She is chairwoman of the Fatherland Party and was released from jail by the Parliament when Yanukovych fled to Russia.  She was convicted of fraud in 2011 when she was Prime Minister under President Yanukovych and given a seven year sentence. 

Last week Putin described her as being a "reasonable partner", perhaps because she has a history of agreeing to pro-Russian deals.

Putin said he is willing to work with anyone who isn't a "downright criminal" but the way hostility is building on both sides, the election in May seems a long way off.