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Polls Suggest Most Ukrainians Are Happy With New President


Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych with construction workers in Lviv in late May

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych with construction workers in Lviv in late May

KYIV -- Four months after his election victory to vanquish the forces of the so-called Orange Revolution, new polling indicates that President Viktor Yanukovych has the support of 65 percent of Ukrainians, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

The polls were conducted between May 24 and June 4 by the Kyiv-based Horshenin Institute for Governance Issues.

Yanukovych's popularity figure puts him at the same level as that of former President Viktor Yushchenko in the first half-year of his term five years ago.

Horshenin Institute head Volodymyr Fesenko described Yanukovych's administration -- which has moved quickly to reverse Yushchenko-era reforms -- as still benefiting from a "honeymoon syndrome," in which voters without strong political allegiances automatically throw their trust and support behind a winning candidate.

"The president is making a deal with the electorate: I will make your lives better, and you don't interfere with how I run the country,'" Fesenko said. "Formally, Yanukovych is not retreating from democracy, but neither is he focusing on it."

Fesenko predicts that Yanukovych will continue to consolidate power but will not implement any radical reforms in the near future. He speculates that reforms are likely to begin after the next parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for March 2012.
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