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Published: Thursday May 15, 2014 MYT 11:55:02 PM
Updated: Thursday May 15, 2014 MYT 11:56:27 PM

Ukraine tycoon set for first round win in presidential vote - survey

Ukrainian businessman, politician and presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko visits the aircraft repair plant Aviakon in the town of Konotop, in northern Ukraine, May 15, 2014.  REUTERS/Mykola Lazarenko/Pool

Ukrainian businessman, politician and presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko visits the aircraft repair plant Aviakon in the town of Konotop, in northern Ukraine, May 15, 2014. REUTERS/Mykola Lazarenko/Pool

KIEV (Reuters) - Confectionery tycoon Petro Poroshenko is likely to win Ukraine's May 25 presidential election in the first round of voting, an opinion poll showed on Thursday.

Poroshenko, who supported the pro-European uprising which ousted Kremlin-backed president Viktor Yanukovich in February, would get support from 54.7 percent of voters - an absolute majority, according to the survey.

Kiev's interim authorities hope the election of a new president will bring political stability after five months of upheaval including Russia's annexation of Crimea and pro-Russian separatist rebellions in the east.

The leading candidate, known as the 'chocolate king' because of his string of confectionery retail outlets, has vowed to make restoring law and order a priority if he wins.

The 49-year-old was a foreign minister and economy minister in previous administrations including under Yanukovich.

The poll by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) showed Poroshenko well ahead of the second-placed candidate, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who scored 9.6 percent.

Tymoshenko, 53, who was jailed for abuse-of-office under Yanukovich and was freed when he fled power, had lost ground from the 14 percent she scored a month ago.

The findings of the new poll of 2,022 people, taken from April 29-May 11, meant that Tymoshenko, whose party effectively leads the interim coalition government, was just less than 3 percentage points ahead of banker Serhiy Tigipko who was on 6.7 percent.

(Writing By Richard Balmforth and Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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