Political Popularity Ratings

KIEV, Ukraine -- After the collapse of coalition negotiations between Victor Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko, both leaders announced they will run for president. Polls also show them leading a crowded field of candidates ahead of the 2010 vote.

Viktor Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko

After more than a week of intrigues and intensive negotiations behind closed doors on forming a mega-coalition between opposition leader Victor Yanukovych and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, talks collapsed amid mutual distrust.

Yanukovych on June 7 said the Party of the Regions would never agree to elect Ukraine’s president in parliament. Just such a constitutional change was part of the talks, along with an extension of the current parliament's term until 2014.

A disappointed Tymsohenko addressed the nation the same day, blaming Yanukovych for pulling out of the talks “without warning.”

A telephone poll conducted among 1,000 Ukrainians on June 7 by the Gorshenin Institute, a Kyiv think tank, showed that 63 percent approved of Yanukovych’s move and supported his argument that the president should be elected by national vote. Both leaders said in their televised addresses to the nation that they would run for president, entering a crowded field as front-runners, according to most polls.

A recent poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology finds 34.7 percent favor Yanukovych and Tymoshenko trailing him with 22 percent. Behind them are former Verkhovna Rada speaker Arseniy Yatseniuk with 19.2 percent, Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko with 6 percent and President Victor Yushchenko with just 3 percent.

The next presidential election will most likely take place on Jan. 17, 2010. But the date has not been officially set by parliament.

Tymoshenko’s leader in parliament, Ivan Kyrylenko, said his faction would continue to push for a popular coalition to combat the economic crisis. “We’re not giving up hope and will not stop [negotiating.] There is no alternative to unification of effort,” Kyrylenko said on June 9.

Meanwhile, Ukrainians expressed disgust at the political infighting and gridlock that is stalling government action on a number of issues.

Source: Kyiv Post