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Yanukovych Wins First Round of Ukraine Election

18. January 2010 by Daniel 0 Comments

Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych appeared to have received the most votes Sunday in the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election.

 

Exit polling showed that Yanukovych, who is a former prime minister and the current leader of the Party of Regions in the Ukrainian parliament, received approximately 35 percent of the vote. Polls showed Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko coming in second place with about 25 percent of the vote.

 

Yanukovych and Tymoshenko will face each other in a runoff election, which is scheduled for Feb. 7.

 

While Yanukovych appeared to be the clear winner of the first round of the election, analysts predict that he could still lose the race as most Ukrainians who voted for one of the 16 other candidates in the first round are believed to be likely to support Tymoshenko in the runoff.

 

Current Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who defeated the more pro-Russian Yanukovych in the 2004 presidential election in what was dubbed “the Orange Revolution,” failed to secure a second term, taking only 5 percent of Sunday’s vote.

 

Tymoshenko, who was also a figurehead of the Orange Revolution, is seen as wanting to make Ukraine a nation that is less dependent on Russia, establishing the nation as an ally of western countries.

 

The Ukrainian elections have been the subject of much scrutiny due to concerns about election-related fraud and other corrupt activities. However, officials and numerous election observers reported that Sunday’s election appeared to be fair and carried out with few problems.