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

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 Yanukovych in February, would get support from 54.7 per cent 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 per cent.

Tymoshenko, 53, who was jailed for abuse-of-office under Yanukovych and was freed when he fled power, had lost ground from the 14 per cent 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 per cent.