Can Ukraine's 'Willy Wonka' become its president and bring peace?

Player utilities

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Audio Transcript:

Marco Werman: Nationalism is on the rise in Eastern Europe too. We've seen that at play during the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. There are the pro Russian nationalists who favor splitting the Eastern Ukraine but there are also Nationalists in Kiev and elsewhere who

want to preserve a united Ukraine. This Sunday, Ukraine's interim government government will attempt to hold a presidential election. It'll be a delicate operation given all the tension and blood shed in the east. The BBC's David Stern is in Kiev, what'll happen with the

election in the east dominated by the pro-Russian forces if they already feel part of Russia will they even bother to go to the polls.

David Stern: Well, it's difficult to say, obviously some people feel that they are independent now and they will not go to the polls, separate to say they will not recognize or not allow the elections to take place but there are a large number of people who do support the

government in Kiev. That's what all the opinion polls have shown, in fact the majority. And so the question is how many polling stations will actually be operable and the concern is that there wouldn't be any election at all in [Dungess or Lu Gongs] but of course the rest of the

country is voting so of course the issue is, will these elections be able to be considered legitimate in the eyes of foreign observers, especially Russia and we've already heard from President Vladimir Putin today saying he that he would respect the outcome of the election

of course that's not to say not outright recognition it is a more conciliatory tone from him and perhaps that indicates that come Monday or Tuesday when these election results are announced that he will in fact recognize him or at least work with the new government.

Marco Werman: So, lets talk about some of the players in this election, the front runner is a man named Petro Poroshanko, who is he?

David Stern: Well, Mr. Poroshanko has been a figure in the Ukrainian political scene for quite some time now, he's been part of any number of parties. He is a Billionare, he is one of the richest men in the country, he's known as, he has any number of monikers,

the chocolate king, the confectionery king. But his main business or the one that he's best known for is the Roshen chocolate company. He has been I guess you could say on the front lines of this pro-European movement that came to power. And he was also seen as

one of the people that had suffered the most from Ukraine's well when relations initially deteriorated between Ukraine and Russia, before the demonstrations began he had his products banned from Russia. So he's in the lead right now, all the opinion poles indicate this.

The question is, would he win more than fifty percent in the first round and thereby winning outright and not having to go into a second round.

Marco Werman: Protesters still down at the Maidan and downtown Kiev. What are they saying about Petro Poroshanko, the front runner.

David Stern: Well it's difficult to say. The people on the Maidan are to a large degree the more I guess you could say active or aggressive or even according to some people the more extreme of the people involved in this movement. They are suspicious of everybody

including Mr. Poroshanko. They say they're down on Madong because the revolution isn't over. They need to keep an eye on this government and especially on someone like Mr. Poroshanko who they see yes as I said before as very much as part of the old guard.

Marco Werman: And I want to ask you this too David since Petro Poroshanko is the Willy Wonka of Ukraine, how is his chocolate.

David Stern: [laughter] He's not quite Willy Wonka. Willy Wonka was a recluse if I remember the book and a very eccentric man but no it is, I eat Roshen chocolate that's not an advertisement, that's a fact. I eat a lot of other chocolate but yes it's very edible.

Marco Werman: The BBC's David Stern in Kiev. Thank you.

David Stern: Thank you Marco.