With former leader Yulia Tymoshenko in jail and widespread fears of election fraud, the west is paying close attention to the vote in the strategic ex-Soviet state, which serves as a key conduit for transit of Russian energy supplies to many EU countries. An election deemed undemocratic by international observers could freeze Kiev's ties with the west and push Ukraine towards Moscow.
Udar (Punch), led by world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, is set to get about 15%, according to the survey.
Opposition forces hope to garner enough parliament seats to weaken Yanukovych's power and undo the damage they say he has done: the jailing of Tymoshenko and her top allies, the concentration of power in the hands of the president, the snubbing of the Ukrainian language in favour of Russian, waning media freedoms, a deteriorating business climate and growing corruption.
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The strong showing by the far-right Svoboda party, which campaigns for the defence of the Ukrainian language and culture but is also infamous for xenophobic and anti-Semitic rhetoric, showed the widespread disappointment and anger with the ruling party.
Shcherban died in a hail of bullets as he stepped from a plane in the eastern city of Donetsk. The attackers, disguised as airport mechanics, also killed his wife and several bystanders.
His killing followed several other murders in Donetsk, including a football stadium bombing that killed the owner of Shakhtar Donetsk club, and led to a realignment of political and business alliances in the key steel- and coal-producing region.
Back then, both Tymoshenko and Yanukovich were big players in a turbulent region which seethed with intrigue and where fortunes were made and lost in murky dealings ranging from sales of state assets to protection rackets, extortion and theft.