Monday Oct 29, 201201:28 AM GMT
Ruling party leads Ukraine’s parliamentary elections: Exit polls
Election commission members empty a booth to count ballots after national parliamentary elections in Kiev on October 28, 2012.
Election commission members empty a booth to count ballots after national parliamentary elections in Kiev on October 28, 2012.
Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:29AM
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The exit poll data speaks for itself. It is clear the Party of the Regions has won... These elections signal confidence in the President's policies."

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov

Exit polls show Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich's ruling party has won the most votes in the country’s parliamentary elections.


The polls, based only on party-list voting, suggested that the pro-Russia Party of the Regions, which has a strong base in eastern Ukraine, collected 28.1 percent of the votes, AFP reported on Sunday.

The United Opposition Fatherland coalition, organized by jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her allies, is trailing behind with 24.7 percent.

Exit polls also suggested that the anti-corruption Udar (Punch) party, led by world heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitchko, is running third with 15.1 percent of the votes and the far-right Svoboda (Freedom) party is fourth with 12.3 percent. Ukraine's Communists stand in the fifth place with 11.8 percent.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said it was clear that the Party of the Regions would win.

"The exit poll data speaks for itself. It is clear the Party of the Regions has won... These elections signal confidence in the President's policies," he noted.

The vote will fill the 450 parliamentary seats up for grabs, half of which will go to candidates on party lists, and the rest will be decided by voting for individual candidates on a first-past-the-post basis.

The final results are expected to be announced on Monday.

Sunday’s legislative polls were seen as a test for President Yanukovich and his ruling party's commitment to democracy and European values amid criticism at home and abroad over his policies.

Yanukovich's drive to centralize power and crackdown on opposition movements have led to popular discontent and a dramatic slide in support for his government.

The jailing of Tymoshenko on charges of abuse of office has also intensified resentment against the ruling administration and helped consolidation of dissident groups.

Yanukovich, who has been president for three years and faces re-election in 2015, has rejected calls to free his rival, arguing that she was sentenced by an independent court.

MN/AS
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