Ukraine Heads For Presidential Run-Off, Exit Polls Show

KIEV, Ukraine -- Pro-Russian opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich and populist Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko will face off in a second round of presidential elections after Sunday's poll failed to produce a clear winner.


Viktor Yanukovych, a former prime minister supporting close relations with Russia, won 31% of the vote, slightly ahead of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who won 27%.

Sunday's election is reflective of a key point in deciding the future of the Eastern European state. Yanukovich has called for greater independence and neutrality by not joining NATO or any other bloc. His Party of the Regions is allied to the Kremlin's United Russia party, but Yanukovich has worked with Western public relations teams in order not to appear as a puppet of Moscow.

On the other end, Tymoshenko is seen as more in line with EU integration. She was one of the main leaders of the 2004 Orange Revolution, which took the Ukraine's old leaders out of power and made Ukrainians believe in a state that could be free of the Kremlin's influence.

Risk of fraud

Prior to the election, Tymoshenko said she was concerned about the risk of election fraud.

The Central Election Commission said it had received some reports of small errors but that they would not affect the overall outcome of the vote. However, there were tensions in the eastern city of Donetsk, where local officials say hundreds of non-registered Georgian observers showed up to disrupt the polls.

Overall voter turnout was lower than in previous elections, with only 44 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots by 2:00 PM GMT. In recent years, Ukrainians have expressed growing disillusionment with politics, as well as anger over the effects of the global economic crisis.

Change desired

Ukrainian voters showed no mercy to incumbent President Viktor Yushchenko, who was one of the key figures during the Orange Revolution. Yushchenko only received 6 percent of the vote, a reflection of voter anger over his inability to introduce reforms and get rid of corruption.

"I voted for Yanukovich," said 54-year-old voter Volodymyr Efremenko. "I am sick of the Orange leaders. I want stability. These last five years were madness."

As Yanukovych cast his own vote Sunday morning, he appeared confident he would be selected by voters.

"I have the feeling that the Ukranian people want change, and very soon a new stage in the life of our country will begin," he said.

Yanukovich and Tymoshenko are expected to face off in a second-round vote in February.

Source: DPA

Comments

wesley rodgers said…
THE INITIAL ELECTION DAY IS OVER AND AS EXPECTED BY MOST SDEASONED POLITICAL AND JOURNALAIST EXPERTS THE NUMBERS CAME IN JUST ABOUT WHERE MOST EXPECTED.

...I AM QUITE SURE THAT VICTOR YANUKOVICH WAS PRAYING THAT HE HAD RECEIVED THE MINIMUM OF 50 PERFCENT WHICH HE DIDN'T AND NOW THE BATTLE HAS BEEN WON BUT IN UKLRAINE POLITICS THE CANDIDATE WHO CAN SCORE THERE IS LIKE WINNING A SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME IN SPORTS.!
...ENTER YULIA TYMOSHENKO!!!

TRUE SHE IS NOT AS LIKED AS BEFORE BUT ALSO BETTER UNDERSTOOD BY UKRAINE VOTERS AND NOW THERE ARE MORE VOTERS AVAILABLE FOR JUST TWO CANDIDATES AND WHO DO YOU THINK THOSE OTHERS WILL CAST THEIR VOTES TO....AS SHAHESPEARE WOULD SAY " TO BE OR NOT TO BE, THIS IS THE QUESTION.?"..
....TYMOSHENKO ALTHOUGH HAVING REVEALED SHE CAN BE DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH MAY BE GOOD IN DEALING WITH THE TOUGH RUSSIAN NEGOTIATORS AND YUSCHENKO WAS NOT!
...SO SHE KNOWS HOW TO DEAL WITH RUSSIA DIPLOMATICALLY,ECONOMICALLY AND TO SOME DEGREE MILITARILY BUT RIGHT NOW THE ECONOMIC AND DIPLOMATIC ISSUES ARE CRITICAL!

....SO, CAN YANUKOVICH DO BETTER THEN TYMOSHENKO AS HE IS LINKED WITH PUTIN AND THE KREMLIN MACHINE, WELL IN ONE WAY BUT THE DECISIONS HE MAKES WILL MOST LIKLEY NOT BE HIS BUT ALMOST LIKE ORDERS FROM RUSSIA.!
TYMOSHENKO IS A TOUGH NEGOTIATOR!!

..BECAUSE AT THE END OIF THE DAY, THOSE WHO LIKE HER OR NOT KNOW TYMOSHENKO IS UKRAINE THRU AND THRU AND WILL NEVER ALLOW THE UKRAINE TO BECOME LESS THAN THE UKRAINE AND SHE KNOWS HOW TO CALL HER OWN SHOTS AND ALSO HAS ADVISORS MUCH AS THE RUSSIANS.
SHE IS KIND OF LIKE THE UKRAINDESD MARGARET THATCHER ONLY WITH MORE MONEY.!!
...AS FOR DEBATES AND PUBLIC SPEAKING, THIS IS WHERE THE FIERY, POPULIST UKRANIAN FROM DNEPROTROSK
REALLY TAKES THE LEAD AND SHE REWSONATES VERY-VERY WELL WITH UKRAINE PEOPLE AND LIKE IT OR NOT SHE WILL HIT THEIR HOT SPOTS AND SHE WILL GET MORE VOTES.

AS FOR MR. YANUKOVICH THERE STILL IS A PALCE FOR HIM AND WE MUST NOT FORGET THAT THERE STILL ARE MANY UKRANIANS WITH RUSSIAN BACKGROUNDS AND RUSSIAN PEOPLE ARE GOOD PEOPLE BUT BELIEVE ME THEY LIKE LIVING IN THE UKRAINE MORE IN MOST CASES.
. MOST LIKELY EXPECT TYMOSHENKO TO WIN THE RUNOFF BECAUSE SHE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO TURN THE HEAT OFF...SO WHAT ARE THE UKRAINE PEOPLE GETTING??..PERHAPS THE OPPORTUNITY TO STILL PURSUE THEIR OWN DESTINTY, DEAL WITH RUSSIA BETTER AND HAVE A BETTER PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE FOR NOW...AND RUSSIA WILL ACCEPT AND UNDERSTAND THIS.

WES RODGERS AMERICAN JOURNALIST
PATRIOTSTV.COM-THE PHILADELPHIA BULLETIN AND SOON RELOCATING BACK TO THE UKRAINE WHERE IN BELONG.!!

P.S. MUCH THANKS TO NICHOLAS AND HIS GROUP FOR PROVIDING SUCH AN EXCELLENT SITE FOR UKRANIANS AND
CONCERNED AMERICANS FOR UKRAINE.!!