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Presidential Candidates Face-Off Ahead of Ukraine Election

8 years ago168 views

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko launched a withering attack on Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko ahead of the presidential election. At a news conference yesterday, Yushchenko accused Tymoshenko of seizing power at all costs.

[Viktor Yushchenko, Ukrainian President]:
"The main threat to the results of the elections, to their objectivity comes from the candidate Tymoshenko. I am convinced she is ready to launch any social action and disregard any result of the election and this person will value neither laws, nor democracy, nor the supreme decision of voters."

At stake in this first election since 2004 is Ukraine's future place in Europe and relations with Russia, which have deteriorated under Yushchenko.

As Tymoshenko and Yushchenko rowed, the country dived deep into an economic recession and sought a billion dollar bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Tymoshenko in the past year has worked to improve ties with Moscow, developing a cordial relationship with her counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

Yushchenko said that the election presented a clear choice for Ukrainians.

[Viktor Yushchenko, Ukrainian President]:
"The bottom line is two platforms are competing now, two systems of values, one is pro-Russian, one is pro-European, that's how things are."

Yushchenko became president in an unprecedented third round of voting after voters protested against electoral fraud, taking victory away from Moscow-backed Viktor Yanukovich.

Tymoshenko then stood alongside Yushchenko as his prime minister. But relations between them have deteriorated since they came to power.

The last opinion polls published show Yushchenko has little chance of being re-elected. Yanukovich and Tymoshenko are expected to face each other in a February 7 run-off vote.