The leader of the opposition Party of Regions is leading public opinion polls in Ukraine ahead of presidential election scheduled for January 17, 2010, according to UNIAN.

According to a poll conducted by the Ukraine Public Opinion Foundation, 26.8% of voters are ready to cast their votes in favor of Viktor Yanukovych, a former prime minister widely seen as pro-Russian. Incumbent leader Viktor Yushchenko trails with a mere 2.2%.

Yushchenko defeated Yanukovych five years ago in an election re-run, which followed street protests against alleged ballot rigging. The power shift to a pro-Western leadership was known as the Orange Revolution.

Yanukovych's closest rival is Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, with 15.6%. Former parliamentary speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk is placed third with 9.3%.

Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko has 4%, former Ukrainian National Bank chief Sergiy Tygypko 1.6%, and Supreme Rada speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn 1.4%.

A total of 15.2% of respondents intend to vote against all candidates, 6.7% are unwilling to go to the polls, and 6.7% are undecided.

However, 85.1% of respondents said they will vote.

The poll was conducted from September 26 to October 4 and covered 1,000 respondents in 85 populated areas of Ukraine, with a statistical error of 4%.


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