Profile: Viktor Yushchenko

The man to watch in Ukraine is the highly popular 50-year-old Viktor Yushchenko, now fighting a rare disease that has disfigured his once handsome face.

    The former national bank chief is running on a pro-west platform

    Born in 1954, Yushchenko is a teacher's son who grew up in the tiny town of Khoruzhivka, where he got a job as a banker after graduating from Ternopil Financial Economic University in western Ukraine.

    He served as head of Ukraine's national bank as from 1993 and became the country's prime minister in 1999 after surviving a corruption scandal at the central bank.

    Dismissed as PM

    While many analysts thought that President Leonid Kuchma was preparing him to become his successor, the president instead dismissed Yushchenko in 2001.

    Yushchenko then turned to opposition and became head of Our Ukraine bloc, demanding fundamental political change.

    His popularity on the Ukrainian street was confirmed when his bloc managed to win enough votes at the following parliamentary elections to seriously challenge the authorities.

    Protesting elections

    He led protests against what he believed was widespread cheating by the authorities during the November 2004 presidential poll, managed to get the parliament to vote no-confidence in the government, and get the supreme court to declare the election results void.

    Yushchenko is said to be an ally of the West who also wants to maintain good relations with the "strategic partner" Russia.

    Yushchenko accuses his opponents of trying to poison him, an alleged attempt which left scars and blisters on his face weeks before the crucial vote.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Learn what India's parties' symbols mean by drawing them

    Learn what India's parties' symbols mean by drawing them

    More than 2,300 political parties have registered for the largest electoral exercise in the world.

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.