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President Viktor Yushchenko (left) meeeting with Prime Minister Yuryi Yekhanurov, leader of Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc, in Kyiv today (epa)
March 27, 2006 -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko today held talks with party leaders on the formation of a new government.
As vote-counting neared 90 percent, the pro-Russian Party of Regions led by ex-presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych maintained its lead, with almost 31 percent of the vote.
A pro-Western bloc led by Yuliya Tymoshenko is second, with more than 22 percent. Yushchenko's own Our Ukraine party was third, with less than 15 percent.
Yushchenko faces a difficult decision. He could either link up with his former adversary in the 2004 presidential election, Yanukovych, or his former ally and now rival Tymoshenko.
Yushchenko today met separately with both Yanukovych and Tymoshenko. Yanukovych said after the meeting that his party would refrain from any negotiations until after final results are announced.
"The Party of Regions, the presidium of its political council, has made its decision -- we will not hold any negotiations with anybody until the final vote count. Official talks will begin after we have received the official results, after the breakdown of votes in parliament becomes clear."
Tymoshenko was more upbeat after meeting with Yushchenko, saying that she and the president "have a common vision for Ukraine's future and for the future coalition."
(compiled from agency reports)
Yushchenko (center) with Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Viktor Chernomyrdin (left), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (rear), and Russian President Vladimir Putin (AFP file photo)
IN WHOSE ORBIT? Just over a year ago, tens of thousands of Ukrainians led an extended public uprising that toppled the country's entrenched, pro-Russia regime. But the country remains deeply divided between the east, where ethnic Russians look toward Moscow, and the west, which yearns for deeper integration with Europe. Can Ukraine elect a legislature that represents this torn country? (more)
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Western Neighbors Keen To Help Transition To Democracy
Click on the image for background and archived articles about Ukraine's March 26 elections.
Click on the image to see RFE/RL's coverage of the Ukrainian elections in Ukrainian.