After declaring victory in Sunday's presidential election in Ukraine, billionaire chocolate maker Petro Poroshenko may now face an uphill struggle to restore stability to a country wrecked by political and economic crises.
Exit polls showed Poroshenko garnered 55 percent of the vote, although the outcome was marred by the fact that millions were unable to go to the polls in Ukraine's troubled eastern provinces.
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"The ballot is legitimate enough," said Colin Chapman, president of the Australian Institute of International Affairs in Sydney. "He really has a tough fight on his hands because he didn't get the national mandate that he sought and he has no mandate in the separatist areas."
Poroshenko, viewed as a pragmatist, has said he would work with the European Union, negotiate with Russia and fix Ukraine's broken economy. Russia is a major market for Ukraine and a vital supplier of its energy needs.
Ukraine has been in turmoil for months. Street protests toppled former pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovich in February, paving the way for an uprising by pro-Russian rebels in the industrial eastern regions. Moscow meanwhile annexed the Crimea peninsula, triggering sanctions from the U.S. and Europe and the worst crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War.
"People are very much optimistic," Lyubov Artemenko, a PhD student at the Polish Academy of Sciences, in Ukraine told CNBC. "They think he (Poroshenko) will facilitate necessary reforms and that his first step will be to stop the war and bring peace."
"We should bring peace, we should bring law and order," Poroshenko told CNBC's Steve Sedgwick.