Pro-Russian bloc leads in Ukraine


Richard Moore

Those color-revolution victories by the CIA seemed a bit to easy.
Perhaps this is the beginning of a roll-back.



Pro-Russian bloc leads in Ukraine

A pro-Russian opposition party led by a former prime
minister will win the most seats in Ukraine's parliamentary
elections, exit polls suggest.

One poll put his Regions Party on 33%, ahead of President
Viktor Yushchenko and his former ally Yulia Tymoshenko, but
short of an overall majority.

Mr Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party was placed third, with
just 13.5%.

The election is the first since the Orange Revolution
brought Mr Yushchenko to power, and his appeal has waned.

The president's rivals quickly talked up their prospects
ahead of official results, which are due on Monday.

Our victory will open a new page in the history of Ukraine
Viktor Yanukovych

Viktor Yanukovych, who was defeated in an election by Mr
Yushchenko in December 2004, said his Regions party had won
the election.

"Our victory will open a new page in the history of
Ukraine," the Associated Press reported him saying, adding
that he was willing to work with any coalition partners.

But Yulia Tymoshenko, who served as prime minister for Mr
Yushchenko but was abruptly sacked last September, said a
new coalition based on the alliances formed during the
Orange Revolution was "practically ready".

Analysts suggested that the newly emboldened Ms Tymoshenko
would expect to regain her position as prime minister in any

Coalition talks

Voting was brisk throughout Sunday, with long 
queues at some polling stations and a turnout 
estimated at over 50%, officials said.

The Socialist party was expected to win about 5% 
of the vote and qualify to take seats in 

Ahead of the vote, Mr Yushchenko said he hoped 
the Orange allies would reunite to claim a 
parliamentary majority.

     37 million eligible voters
     450-member parliament
     45 parties taking part
     Coalition government expected
     Key parties
     Party of the Regions (Yanukovych)
     Our Ukraine (Yushchenko)
     BYT (Tymoshenko)

Coalition talks will be complicated by constitutional
changes that have increased parliament's powers at the
expense of the president.

Following the poll, parliament - instead of the president -
will choose the prime minister, and parliament also has to
approve all members of the government.

Earlier the pro-Western Mr Yushchenko, who has been damaged
by a weak economy and slow pace of reform, was upbeat.

The staging of democratic elections in Ukraine was itself a
victory for the Orange forces, he said.

"I am in a great mood, a mood that comes before victory," he
told reporters as he cast his vote with his family.

Mr Yanukovych said he supported ties with the European
Union, as well as mending Ukraine's relationship with

"Europe will support Ukraine, and Ukraine will build
mutually beneficial relations with all nations, including
the European Union," he said after casting his ballot.

The Orange Revolution took its name from the election
campaign colour adopted by Mr Yushchenko in presidential
elections held in November 2004.

Mr Yanukovych was declared the winner, but allegations of
widespread vote-rigging sent hundreds of thousands of
Ukrainians out on to the streets to demand change.

The election result was later overturned and Mr Yushchenko
went on to win a re-run.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/26 22:06:33 GMT


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