Exit polls gave Viktor Yanukovych's pro-Russian party from 27 to 31 percent, followed by the bloc led by Yuliya Tymoshenko with about 22 to 24 percent. In third with about 15 percent, according to exit polls, is Our Ukraine, the party of President Viktor Yushchenko.
Tymoshenko, a former ally of Yushchenko, said an agreement was all but complete to form a governing coalition of Orange Revolution liberals -- her party, socialists, and Yushchenko's party.
"I can say that at this moment, our party, the Socialist Party, and the Our Ukraine party have fully agreed on the text of a coalition agreement," Tymoshenko told journalists on March 26.
The head of the Yushchenko campaign team said the president also wanted a restored "Orange" team and that Yushchenko could play a decisive role.
Yanukovych also invited other parties to join a coalition with his party.
"The Party of Regions has gained a decisive victory, and we are ready to assume a huge responsibility on behalf of the Ukrainian people -- for political, economic, and social stability in the country," Yanukovych said late on March 26. "We are ready to take responsibility to form a government, and we call on everybody who holds Ukraine's fate dear to join us. We are ready to take responsibility for the present and the future of every Ukrainian citizen, whether we speak Ukrainian or Russian, wear orange or blue scarfs, live in Donetsk, Crimea, Kyiv, or Lviv. Today, we are a united country -- a single and united Ukraine."
The head of the Central Election Commission, Yaroslav Davydovych, said complete preliminary results won't be ready until March 28.
(AFP, Reuters, AP, Interfax, Itar-Tass)
The Key Players
BEHIND THE IMAGES: Click on the links below to read RFE/RL's profiles of some of the key players in Ukraine's March 26 legislative elections:
Click on the image to view a photo gallery of some of the key players in the Ukrainian elections.