(Bloomberg) The gloves are well and truly off in Ukraine’s presidential election.
While the first of two spots in an almost certain runoff next month looks wrapped up, a battle for the other is raging between incumbent Petro Poroshenko and ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Accusations are flying — everything from voter payoffs to wiretaps and shady donors. There’s even a decoy candidate among the field of 39 hopefuls.
Dirty tricks aren’t unique to Ukraine. They’re a common occurrence in ex-communist Europe and continue to fuel heated discussions over issues like Brexit. But Ukraine’s history of revolutions — it’s already had two this century — makes it different. Just ask Viktor Yanukovych, whose fraudulent election victory in 2004 was overturned by mass protesters. Having prevailed six years later, another popular uprising sent him fleeing to Russia in 2014. […]
“The amount of political advertising has increased dramatically and far exceeds parties’ budgets,” said Oleksandr Sushko, executive director of the Renaissance Foundation, which promotes democracy and transparency. “Some explanations of where money is coming from are laughable.” […]
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