Poroshenko declares victory in Ukraine presidential poll

Poroshenko declares victory in Ukraine presidential poll

Billionaire Petro Poroshenko claimed Ukraine's presidency on Sunday after exit polls gave him an absolute majority in a first round of voting and, vowing to end a conflict with pro-Russian rebels, he pledged to align his country with Europe, Reuters reported.

Exit polls gave Poroshenko, a confectionery magnate with long experience in government, more than 55 percent of the vote, well ahead of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko in second place with just over 12 percent. If confirmed by results on Monday, there will be no need for a runoff vote on June 15.

Ukrainians, weary of six months of political turmoil, hope their new president will be able to pull their country of 45 million people back from the brink of bankruptcy, dismemberment and civil war that prevented voting in parts of the Russian-speaking east of the country.

"All the polls show that the election has been completed in one round and the country has a new president," Poroshenko, 48, told a news conference. His businesses have earned him a fortune of over $1 billion and the nickname the "Chocolate King".

At his campaign headquarters, he told supporters the majority of Ukrainians had given him a mandate to continue a course of integration with the rest of Europe but said his first priority was to travel to the east of the country to end "war and chaos" caused by armed pro-Russian separatists there.

Pro-Russian separatists barred people from voting in much of Ukraine's Donbass industrial heartland, turning the main city of Donetsk into a ghost town, after days of violence in the surrounding region in which at least 20 people were killed.

Asked by a foreign journalist about relations with Russia, Poroshenko, speaking in fluent English, said he would insist on respect for Ukraine's "sovereignty and territorial integrity". He also said Ukraine would never recognize Russia's "occupation of Crimea", the Black Sea region seized by Moscow in March.

But Poroshenko will have to try to find common ground with Ukraine's giant northern neighbor, which provides most of its natural gas and is the major market for its exports.

UPHEAVAL

Sunday's election marked the culmination of a revolution that erupted last November, forced pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich to flee in February and spiraled into an existential crisis when Moscow responded by declaring its right to invade Ukraine to protect its large Russian-speaking population.

The pro-Moscow separatists have proclaimed independent "people's republics" in the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk and blocked voting there as that would imply they were still part of Ukraine. Nor was any vote held in Russian-annexed Crimea.

Ukrainian officials hailed a high voter turnout in much of the sprawling country but said only about 20 percent of polling stations in the two restive eastern regions had functioned. One man was reported killed in a shootout in Luhansk region after what officials said was a militant raid on a polling station.

Putin, who branded eastern Ukraine "New Russia" last month, has made more accommodating noises of late, saying on Saturday he would respect the voters' will. He has announced the pullback of tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on the border.

But the absence of more than 15 percent of the potential electorate from the election could give Moscow an excuse to raise doubts about the victor's legitimacy and continue applying pressure on the new president in Kiev.

Poroshenko is hardly a new face in Ukrainian politics, having served in a cabinet under Yanukovich and also under a previous government led by Yanukovich's foes. This breadth of experience has given him a reputation as a pragmatist capable of bridging Ukraine's divide between supporters and foes of Moscow.

He nevertheless was a strong backer of the street protests that toppled Yanukovich and is thus acceptable to many in the "Maidan" movement of pro-European protesters who have kept their tented camp in the capital to keep pressure on the new leaders.

After Yanukovich fled in February after more than 100 people were killed, Moscow refused to recognize the interim leaders in Kiev, describing them as a fascist junta who threaten the safety of millions of Russian speakers.

Tymoshenko, freed from jail on the day Yanukovich fled to Russia, appeared to accept her defeat by a long-time rival, saying in a brief appearance that the vote had been fair.

Ukrainians hope the vote can help because Moscow could not so quickly dismiss an elected leader with a solid mandate.

The United States and European Union also view the election as a decisive step towards ending their worst confrontation with Moscow since the Cold War.

Their response to Russian interference in Ukraine so far has been limited to freezing the assets of a few dozen Russian individuals and small firms. But they have threatened to take far more serious measures, even targeting whole sectors of Russian industry, if Moscow interferes with the vote.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: "Whether Poroshenko manages to unite a divided country will depend above all on how the constitutional process will now be approached, what kind of messages will be sent to the eastern region... also to the Russian-speakers."

Constitutional changes since Yanukovich's fall will leave Poroshenko with less power than his predecessor once he is formally sworn in, probably not before next month. He will share power with Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk and parliament.

Poroshenko, who has worked closely with the liberal Yatseniuk in recent months, said there should be a parliamentary election before the end of the year.

Car drives onto sidewalk cafe in southern Netherlands, injuring six
Car drives onto sidewalk cafe in southern Netherlands, injuring six
Spain reports first new COVID-19 death since Sunday
Spain reports first new COVID-19 death since Sunday
France says latest U.S. trade threats over digital tax a 'contradiction'
France says latest U.S. trade threats over digital tax a 'contradiction'
Loading Bars
Latest
Moscow ‘s COVID-19 death toll rises by 64 to 2,749
WHO especially worried about Central and South America
No damage or victims reported after 6.9-magnitude earthquake in Chile
Car drives onto sidewalk cafe in southern Netherlands, injuring six
Oman reports 738 new COVID-19 cases, 13,538 in total
Oil moves higher, hovers below $40 as doubts emerge over next step on OPEC cuts
Earthquake jolts Indonesia's Bali, no tsunami alert issued
Azerbaijani president attends ceremony to launch newly renovated “Aghjabadi-2” power substation (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Kazakhstan increases import of chemicals from Turkey
Azerbaijani president inaugurates grain processing plant in Aghjabadi (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijani president arrives in Aghjabadi district for visit (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Spain reports first new COVID-19 death since Sunday
Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers: Borders remain closed due to current situation
EIB funds construction project in Georgia
TABIB: If people abide by quarantine regime rules, restrictions not to be further introduced in Azerbaijan
Georgia prepares for peach and nectarine harvesting season
Azerbaijani PM to reveal details related to restrictions
Volume of deposits in national currency greatly increases in Azerbaijan
Activity of Facebook users in Azerbaijan keeps growing
Operational Headquarters: Going outside may be banned in some Azerbaijani cities
TABIB: Shopping malls planned to be fully closed on weekend in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan names economy sector with biggest share of credit investments
Kazakhstan to up its gross agricultural output before year-end
Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers:Tightening quarantine regime rules under discussion
Ministry of transport eyes transferring airports of Uzbekistan to foreign investors
Timeframe for orbiting Turkish satellites Turksat 5A, Turksat 6A announced
Azerbaijan discloses data on collection of premiums in insurance market in April 2020
Bank of Georgia launches campaign to support farmers
Iran aims to boost export of mineral products
Azerbaijan confirms 325 new COVID-19 cases
Azerbaijani Azexport portal notes growing export orders after softening quarantine regime
Azerbaijan State Tax Service talks concessions made to taxpayers
Azexport portal talks availability of Facebook Shop in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani president attends ceremony to launch drinking water supply and sewerage systems in Aghjabadi (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijani president inaugurates “ASAN xidmet” center in Aghjabadi (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijani president attends ceremony to start grain harvest in Aghjabadi (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Export of carpets from Turkey abroad drops two-fold in May 2020
Association of Uzbek textile manufacturers talks about progress of industry
Travel by railway remains suspended in Georgia
Ambassadors of EU member states interested in reopening tourism sector in Georgia
Turkey's export of defense products from January through May 2020 declines
Magnitude 6.8 earthquake hits northern Chile, copper mines say unaffected
France says latest U.S. trade threats over digital tax a 'contradiction'
SOCAR subsidiary starts producing raw material for medical masks fabric
Azercell introduces new “Mobile TV” service for kids
Trump administration set to bar Chinese passenger carriers from flying to U.S.
Investments help Kazakhstan raise agriculture goods processing
Turkmenistan's Dashoguz region growing foreign potatoes
Italy may use new Kazakhstan-tested platform to track quarantine compliance
Azerbaijani president visits military unit in Aghdam (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Baku Stock Exchange pays interest on bonds of Azerbaijan Mortgage and Credit Guarantee Fund
Georgia, Estonia discuss cooperation in field of transportation, tourism
Agriculture sector digitalization leads to significant money savings in Kazakhstan
Turkey's export of cars abroad from January through May 2020 slips
Airlines cut fares to help boost May traffic
Export of Turkey's export of ready-made clothes down compared to 2019
Georgia expects average cherry crop
Netherlands, Azerbaijan could create train connection
Azerbaijan developing new alternative energy project
Saudi, Russia reach deal on oil cuts, raising pressure for compliance
Uzbek textile products in great demand on French market
German bans digital doppelganger passport photos
Textile industry of Uzbekistan - fastest growing sector of country's economy
Quarantine regime to be strengthened in Kazakhstan’s Almaty city
Azerbaijani enterprise starts exporting canned goods to US
EU implements new projects to support vulnerable groups in Georgia
Payments of insurance claims by four Azerbaijani insurers decline
Export of Turkey's leather products to int'l markets down
Azerbaijani Azexport portal talks Facebook Shops integration
Kazakhstan's Samruk-Kazyna decreases its share in Kazatomprom
ADB continues to support Azerbaijan’s efforts to diversify its energy mix
Turkmenistan’s Turkmenhimiya opens tender to buy various equipment, spare vehicle parts
Turkey's export of wood, furniture abroad from January through May 2020 plummets
Coronavirus negatively affects almost all sectors of Georgian economy
Kazakhstan records decrease in money transfer volume
Oil, gas exploration work to be held throughout Turkey
Uzbek-Korean JV opens tender for procurement of pump repair kit
Hajj pilgrimage from Azerbaijan may not take place this year
Azerbaijan's Agricultural Insurance Fund talks managing company branding
Azerbaijan's pomegranate association aims to increase export volumes
BoE says advising banks to prepare for possible no-deal Brexit
16 insurance companies increase payment of insurance claims in Azerbaijan
Belgium to open bars and restaurants but not nightclubs
Azerbaijani president attends inauguration of Tartar branch of “Azerkhalcha” OJSC (PHOTO/VIDEO)
GNERC: Over 20% of business entities provided with internet services in Georgia
Cargo transshipment through Turkey's Antalya port disclosed
Turkey's export of grain, legumes to int'l markets marginally up
Exhibition of historical Baku photos opens on Baku boulevard (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani pomegranate association reveals new export targets
Turkey's export to D-8 countries down from Jan. through Apr. 2020
Turkmenistan’s Dashoguz region completing preparations for wheat harvesting
Sumgait Technologies Park talks export of aluminum to Central Asia
Cargo transshipment from Greece via Turkish ports disclosed
State share of Kafolat Insurance Company sold in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan's Central Bank talks problematic insurance companies
Uzbek Ipak Yuli Bank, EBRD increasing their support to entrepreneurs of Uzbekistan
Uzbek-Korean JV buys sockets, switches via tender
Bank loans on rise in Azerbaijan
Turkey, US trade turnover suffers drop in April 2020
Azerbaijani president opens newly renovated highway (PHOTO/VIDEO)
All news