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Yanukovych, Tymoshenko Advance to Ukrainian Presidential Runoff

18. January 2010 by Daniel 0 Comments

Opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych appeared to be the winner of the first round of the Ukrainian presidential election Sunday, with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko coming in second.


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 Tymoshenko capturing 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.


Officils have heavily scrutinized the Ukrainian elections out of concern about election fraud and corrupt activities. However, observers reported that the first round of the election appeared to be fair and generally free of problems.