May 25 (Reuters): Exit polls projected victory for confectionery magnate Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine’s presidential election today with an absolute majority, averting the need for a runoff vote next month.
Two polls gave Poroshenko, a billionaire businessman with long experience in government, 55.9 to 57.3 per cent, well ahead of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in second place with just over 12 per cent. If confirmed by results tomorrow, 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.
Poroshenko, 48, has promised closer economic and political ties with the West in defiance of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but he will also have to try to mend shattered relations with Ukraine’s giant northern neighbour, which provides most of its natural gas and is the major market for its exports.