GENEVA - The daughter of Ukraine's jailed and ailing ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko warned Wednesday that weekend parliamentary elections could lead to an irreversible dictatorship under President Viktor Yanukovych.
Her comments came just four days ahead of parliamentary elections in Ukraine -- the first national vote in the country since Yanukovych beat her mother in a bitterly contested 2010 presidential poll that was soon followed by charges against Tymoshenko.
The 51-year-old opposition leader with her traditional blond braid was sentenced to seven years in prison last October on abuse of office charges that both she and Western states view as a politically motivated bid to sideline her from politics.
Tymoshenko was considered a promoter of Western-leaning policies while prime minister before the 2010 vote.
She now lobbies for a loose opposition coalition from a state hospital where she is being treated for back problems, although she has been barred from running for a seat herself.
Studies suggest that no more than nine percent of Ukrainians are expecting a fair ballot and 47 percent say they would not be surprised to find widescale or significant fraud.