Ukraine Exit Polls: Pro-Russia Party Ahead

KIEV, Ukraine Mar 26, 2006 (ABC/AP) — A pro-Russia party of Viktor Yanukovych won the largest chunk of votes in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections, two nationwide exit polls indicated, dealing a stinging rebuke to President Viktor Yushchenko’s West-leaning administration.

Polling stations shut after 15 hours, but voters who had waited in long lines and managed to get inside before the official closing time were allowed to cast ballots, choosing from more than 45 parties that sought seats in the 450-member parliament.

Yulia Tymoshenko points as she speaks to the media in Kiev, Ukraine. Tymoshenko portrays herself as a victim of ruthless and corrupt clans, a martyr's image that along with her prowess in public speaking helped her retain strong public support in the nation of 47 million people. AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Moscow opposition leader who lost to Yushchenko in the 2004 presidential election forced by the Orange Revolution street protests, declared his party the winner. “Our victory will open a new page in the history of Ukraine,” Yanukovych said. “We are ready to work together with any political party.”

One exit poll said 33 percent of votes had gone to Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions. The poll, by Democratic Initiatives, International Institute of Sociology and Razumkov Center, said former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc was second with about 23 percent and Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party was third at under 14 percent.


Yushchenko’s job was not at stake, but the vote was the first since constitutional reforms trimmed presidential powers and gave broader authority to parliament, including the right to name the prime minister and much of the Cabinet.

The victory by Yanukovych’s party could potentially give him say over those choices, although he would not have the majority needed to act without parliamentary allies.

There were also indications Yushchenko and Tymoshenko, the flamboyant heroine of the Orange Revolution’s protests, might be willing to try to patch over their differences so they could form a governing coalition. But many analysts were skeptical that would happen.

Yushchenko calls for consolidation; Yanukovich is sure of victory

KIEV, March 26 (Itar-Tass) – “Ukraine needs consolidation,” said Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko after he voted at a polling station for the elections to the national parliament and local bodies of self-government. “We hold honest and democratic elections for the first time,” the president said. According to his words, authorities “have done unbelievably much so that these elections should be just and democratic – starting from complete financing,  – and to forming polling stations and their provision with materials and equipment”.

Ukrainian ex-premier and leader of the opposition Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovich is sure of the victory of his party. The opposition leader did not preclude a chance that Rinat Akhmetov who is within the top ten on the election list of the party, can be a new prime minister.

Yanukovich is sure that following the elections, “stability and order” will be in store for Ukraine. Speaking of the international policy in case his party comes to power, he noted that Ukraine would develop mutually advantageous cooperation with all countries. “Russian-Ukrainian relations will be excellent,” Yanukovich emphasized.  

“But I will not let myself be reduced to silence.”

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