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Ukrainians set to elect new president on Sunday

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The crisis-stricken Ukraine is counting down to a crucial presidential election after months of demonstrations across the country.

People will go to the polling stations in Ukraine on Sunday amid a boycott in eastern regions of the country.

Eighteen candidates are running for president in an election mainly considered as a step toward end the country’s unrest.

Opinion polls show that Solidarity party’s candidate, Petro Poroshenko, will win the election.

Voting will begin at 8:00 a.m. local time and end at 8:00 p.m. Election results are expected to be released on Monday after the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) gives its verdict on the integrity of the polls.

If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off will be held on June 15.

More than 33 million Ukrainians are eligible to cast their ballots. But, many in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in the east say they won’t take part in the election.

The election comes after months of political crisis, which erupted last November, when former president, Viktor Yanukovych, refrained from signing an association agreement with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia.

The refusal triggered months of unrest and clashes with the police, which finally led to the ouster of Yanukovych on February 23. He then travelled to Russia, where he was given sanctuary.

Following Yanukovych’s ouster, pro-Russia protests broke out in Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions. The protests gained momentum after Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and became part of the Russian Federation following a referendum in March.

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