Ukraine elections: Ruling party leads exit polls


An elderly couple cast their ballot on October 28, 2012 in the village of Rusaki, some 110 kms from Kiev, during national parliamentary elections. Ukraine voted on October 28 in legislative polls seen as a test of democracy under President Viktor Yanukovych following the jailing his political foe Yulia Tymoshenko.


Viktor Drachev

Ukraine's ruling party was leading in Sunday's parliamentary elections, according to exit polls, despite a strong showing by opposition parties.

President Viktor Yanukovich's Party of Regions took 28.1 percent of the vote, according to Ukraine's National Exit Poll, reported CNN. The Batkivshchyna ("Fatherland") party of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko followed closely with 24.7 percent, while heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitchko's Udar ("Punch") party was in third with 15.1 percent. The Svoboda ("Freedom") party was fourth, with 12.3 percent, the poll said.

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"The results of exit polls show clearly that people of Ukraine are for the opposition, not for the government," United Opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk told reporters after polls closed Sunday night.

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov disagreed, saying the ruling party was the clear winner, while another senior leadership figure said the final results would show the Regions holding a majority, according to Reuters.

"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," Azarov told journalists.

Reuters also noted there were no figures immediately available regarding how this would translate into seats in the 450-member parliament.

According to the Associated Press, if the three opposition groups unite, they could get 127 parliament seats, as opposed to 98 seats that would go to the Regions and Communists. The distribution of the remaining 225 seats is expected to be announced Monday.