Despite widespread violence and rebellion in eastern regions of the country, Ukraine managed to have an election Sunday, electing the chocolate billionaire, Petro Poroshenko, as the embattled country’s new president.
With tallied results showing Poroshenko retaining 55.9 percent of the vote counted so far, the businessman has claimed victory in an election that many thought might never take place due to the spate of unrest caused by pro-Russian demonstrators in eastern Ukraine.
Al-Jazeera reports that former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko finished in second, and has already conceded the election to Poroshenko.
“A united Ukraine is the basis of my presidential program,” Poroshenko said as he celebrated his victory. “The majority of voters supported a pro-European choice and this is extremely important.”
Poroshenko also said he would never recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The newly elected president faces many challenges as he comes to inherit a country that is beset by a faltering economy, splintering loyalties, a threatening Russia, an austerity deal with the International Monetary Fund, and continuing unrest and violence throughout Ukraine.
Nicknamed “The Chocolate King,” many have seen Poroshenko’s eventual victory in the election as defeating the purpose of the Maidan protests that broke out in Ukraine late last year and led to the toppling of the previous pro-Russian regime; and some see him as just another oligarch that benefited from the corruption of past regimes.
Poroshenko has spent the last few weeks preparing himself for his predicted victory and is expected to take Ukraine into a pro-Western direction.