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CCTV Correspondent Roee Ruttenberg
Voters in Ukraine are heading to polls Sunday in the country’s parliamentary election. Hundreds of international election observers are on-hand to monitor the vote, which the European Union says is a "litmus" test for the country’s democracy.
Partying for politics. Supporters of Ukraine's ruling "Party of Regions" celebrate their time in power. Their led by the President Viktor Yanukovych - himself not up for re-election, though his parliamentary party is.
Mykola Azarov, Ukrainian Prime Minister, said, "That the country be glorified, we can do it!"
Just a few hundred meters away, at the same time, a rally for the Opposition, an umbrella party representing several opponents to the President.
Arseniy Yatseniuk, United Opposition Leader, said, "There are people who are not afraid."
But the opposition’s top figure: the former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshchenko, is noticeably missing from the ranks on stage. Tymoshchenko is currently in jail over a gas deal signed with Russia put there by the courts, critics say, thanks to the pressures of the President.
"Behind me is the court where Tymoshchenko was sentenced exactly one year ago this month. Her supporters set up these tents during the trial, and they’ve been here since. Tymoshchenko is still a force in this election and could re-emerge on the political scene. The European Court of Human Rights is reviewing her case. It’s decision may force the government here to release her."
which is one of the main reasons Europe is closely watching the case, and the elections
Vladimir Fesenko, Political Analyst, said, "It’s a test whether democracy works in Ukraine. If the assessment is negative, unfortunately there will be a crisis in Ukrainian relations with the West and the European Union."
Both of which have been closely watching since the so-called Orange Revolution in 2004. Then, Tymoshchenko aligned herself with Viktor Yushchenko, the former president. Both lost in 2010 to the current president, who critics say is now trying to prevent Tymoshenko from replacing him in 2015 - when THAT powerful slot is up for a vote.
For that, President Yanukovych needs to keep his majority in the parliament.A third-pary, led by the World Boxing Champion Vitali Klitshchko, may end up the new kingmakers in Ukrainian politics. Klitshchko has indicated he’ll never join forces with the ruling party and furthermore, he may join the others to stop them. Roee Ruttenberg, CCTV, in Kyiv, Ukraine.