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Ukraine presidential poll democratic and legitimate - Yushchenko

RIA Novosti


KIEV, January 20 (RIA Novosti) - The first round of Ukraine's presidential elections held on January 17 was democratic and legitimate, incumbent President Viktor Yushchenko said on Wednesday.

"The elections were free, democratic and legitimate," Yushchenko said, adding that he accepted the results of the vote.

Opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko face a February 7 runoff in Ukraine's presidential election after neither of them was able to secure victory in the first round of voting.

With 100% of the ballots counted, Yanukovych garnered 35.32% and Tymoshenko took 25.05%.

Ex-National Bank head Serhiy Tyhypko gained 13.06%. He was followed by ex-parliamentary speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk with 6.96% and Yushchenko with 5.45%. A total of 2.2% of voters voted for "none of the above."

Both Yanukovych and Tymoshenko have indicated a desire to better relations with Moscow, soured in recent years over Kiev's NATO bid, gas disputes, and a host of other issues.

In line with Ukraine's legislation, a runoff takes place if none of the candidates is able to gain 50% plus one vote in the first round.