Pro-Western Coalition in Ukraine Looks Set to Lead Parliament | Europe | News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 02.10.2007

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Pro-Western Coalition in Ukraine Looks Set to Lead Parliament

Results showed that the parties of the "Orange Revolution" have a slight lead over Ukrainian Prime Minister Yanukovych's pro-Russia party, but both sides are claiming victory as charges of election fraud were made.

Ballots are dumped out of a box

Not quite all the votes have been counted

With over 95 percent of ballots counted on Tuesday, Oct. 2, from Sunday's parliamentary election, an "Orange" coalition of Ukraine's two pro-Western parties appears likely.

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions, a pro-Russia party based in Ukraine's Russian-speaking east and south, had received 34.2 percent of the popular vote -- a slight lead over all other parties, according to the Central Election Commission.

Prime Minister Yanukovych

Prime Minister Yanukovych's party has gained the most votes

Its ally -- the Marxist Communist party of Ukraine (CPU) -- gained 5.4 percent, allowing it to enter parliament. A party led by former parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn may also participate in the legislature, having obtained 3.97 percent and surpassing the country's 3-percent threshold for parliamentary participation.

Together, Regions, the Communists and the Lytvyn party have reaped enough support to hold 221 seats in the 450-member parliament, based on the near-complete vote count.

A neck-and-neck race

However, the party of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and the Our Ukraine National Self Defense party (OUNSD), which supports President Viktor Yushchenko, could make up the majority in parliament.

The anti-corruption-oriented Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT) received 30.8 percent of votes cast, while the OUNSD received 14.3 percent, respectively.

Yulia Tymoshenko

Yulia Tymoshenko's party -- in coalition -- looks set to lead in parliament

According to a projection by the Ukrainska Pravda Internet site, the results would translate into 229 seats -- and a slight majority -- in the assembly.

Tymoshenko and Yushchenko's parties, which were responsible for the 2004 "Orange Revolution," have both announced their readiness to form a coalition.

"We are in agreement in our basic principles, and that will allow us to work together harmoniously," Tymoshenko told reporters. "There are no differences between us."

The Socialist Party, a potential Regions ally and member of Yanukovych's former government, gained only 2.94 percent of the vote.

Political analysts in Ukraine said there was little chance for the Socialists to improve their lot in the counting of the final 5 percent of ballots.

Charges of election fraud

On Monday, Yushchenko ordered an investigation into delays in vote-counting in the eastern and southern parts of the country, which are Yanukovych's strongholds.

Demonstrators gathered to protest alleged fraud in the presidential elections

Ukrainians took to the streets after charges of voter fraud emerged in 2004

"We have a situation where, by pressure and corruption, an attempt is being made to revise the results of what people voted for," Mykola Tomenko, a Tymoshenko bloc leader, told reporters.

He said Yanukovych's allies were delaying the count to give the Socialists, part of his outgoing government, enough votes to clear the 3 percent minimum to get back into parliament and potentially give Yanukovych a parliamentary majority.

Poll rigging played a key role in the 2004 presidential election in which Yushchenko beat Yanukovych following weeks of mass rallies against fraud by protesters donned in orange.

Yanukovych made a comeback when his party placed first in a parliamentary election a year ago.

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