Ukraine's presidential election kicks off

Sunday, 2019-03-31 15:30:39
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Voting for the presidential election in Ukraine kicked off on Sunday (March 31) with a record number of 39 candidates competing for the presidency.

Some 29,900 polling stations were arranged across the country. They opened at 8:00 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) and will close at 8:00 p.m. (1700 GMT).

Ukraine has set up a total of 101 polling stations in 72 foreign states.

Ukraine's Central Electoral Commission (CEC) has registered 2,344 international observers from 16 countries and 15 international organizations to monitor the voting process.

A total of 134,381 law enforcement personnel have been deployed across Ukraine to ensure the elections proceed peacefully.

According to various opinion polls, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko and actor Volodymyr Zelensky are so far the front-runners in the race.

If none of the 39 candidates gets more than half of the votes in the first round, the two candidates with the most ballots will head to a run-off on April 21.

A survey carried out on March 20-26 across Ukraine revealed that 17.8 percent of Ukrainians would support Zelensky, while 11.7 percent would vote for Poroshenko, showing that they are most likely to win the first round.

According to a recent survey, up to 85 percent of some 29.8 million eligible voters are expected to participate in the seventh presidential election since Ukraine's independence in 1991.

The final results are set to be published by May 4, with the president assuming office no later than June 3.