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OSCE Declares Ukraine Elections Open and Competitive


01 October 2007

International election observers in Ukraine say Sunday's elections were open and competitive, although there were some problems with voter lists.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said Monday that the voting in Ukraine was conducted mostly in line with international democratic standards.

Preliminary official results Monday give opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko's block about 33 percent, while Prime Minister Yanukovych's party (- the Party of the Regions -) has about 32 percent, with two-thirds of the ballots counted so far.

Both leaders say they will form new governments. Mr. Yanukovych said on Ukrainian television that the results give him the power to form a new Cabinet. But Ms. Tymoshenko says she will ask President Viktor Yushchenko to let her form a new government.

The president's party (- Our Ukraine -) has about 16 percent of the vote. Ms. Tymoshenko said her party will join with the president's party - a coalition that gives them more seats than the prime minister's party.

However, it is not yet clear if that coalition will have a majority of seats in parliament. Tough negotiations are expected before anyone can form a coalition government.

Mr. Yushchenko and Ms. Tymoshenko were political allies in Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" - the popular uprising against the 2004 presidential election that Mr. Yanukovych won. Mr. Yushchenko won the re-vote and named Ms. Tymoshenko prime minister. He later fired her.

President Yushchenko wants closer relations with Western countries, while Mr. Yanukovych has strong support from Ukraine's Russian-speaking population.

President Yushchenko called for Sunday's early elections in April, after dissolving parliament. He accused Mr. Yanukovych of illegally courting members of the president's party to strengthen the prime minister's support in parliament.

 

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.