May 23 - Officials set up polling stations for presidential election, which Ukraine's struggling pro-Western interim authorities see as vital step in restoring stability. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Ukrainians are making final preparations for Sunday's presidential election -- three months after Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich fled the capital in the face of a street uprising. Election officials are distributing polling cards to almost 34,000 polling stations across the country. Some 35.5 million people are eligible to vote. Contingency plans have been made for those in the east who may face disruptions from pro-Russian separatists -- and minority Tatars in Crimea. SOUNDBITE (Ukrainian) OLEG KUPRIIYENKO, HEAD OF KIEV REGIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION, SAYING: "The people who live in the east and in Crimea and have no possibility for voting for whatever reasons -- and we all know what the reasons are -- they were given the opportunity to apply to the electoral authorities to change their place of voting and exercise their voting rights in any other place of their choice." Opinion polls suggest confectionary magnate Petro Poroshenko will win the election, either in Sunday's first round or - if he fails to muster more than 50 percent of the vote - in a second round set for June 15. Polls show former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko a distant second in the race. Kiev's pro-Western leaders hope Sunday's election will stabilize the former Soviet republic