Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Prelude to Orange Revolution

KIEV, Ukraine -- A year ago, Ukraine went to the polls to elect a new president, but it also marked the beginning of the drive toward radical changes in the country which culminated in the "orange revolution."

Viktor Yuschenko (C) campaigning on October 15, 2004

After the vote On October 31, 2004, the republic's Election Commission, unable to sum up the results for several days, caused public resentment and suspicions regarding their authenticity.

Two more rounds were held to determine the winner. Viktor Yuchchenko who eventually won the race, and his government are credited by a majority of Ukrainians with considerable success in the provision of pensions, freedom of expression and the strengthening of Ukraine's international image, according to the latest study conducted by the Razumkov center.

More than 37 percent of the respondents said the situation with the provision of pensions had changed for the better; 32 percent of those polled praised Yushchenko for ensuring the freedom of expression while 30.5 percent noted improvements in Ukraine's image.

At the same time, sociologists detected decreasing confidence in the government. Almost 30 percent of the respondents attributed the falling confidence in authorities "to power abuse and corruption in higher echelons of power," 26 percent blamed the conflicts between top officials and related rows, while 13 percent blamed the slower economic growth.

The country is gearing up for the parliamentary election on March 26, 2005. The Central Electoral Commission requested more than 110 million dollars, its head Yaroslav Davydovich said.

The system of information protection during the voting will be certified at Ukraine's Security Service.

The investigation into the case of counting fraud at the presidential election has stalled, Davydovich said.

In May, the Ukrainian Interior Minister claimed that more than 500 cases involving 6,000 suspects had been opened over election fraud. Of those, 111 cases have been sent to court.

Source: Itar-Tass