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With Half Of Ballots Counted, Pro-Russian Party Leads In Ukraine

Yuliya Tymoshenko during a news conference in Kyiv today (epa) March 27, 2006 -- With over 50 percent of ballots tallied in Ukraine, the pro-Russian party of former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych is leading the vote count from the March 26 parliamentary election.

Yanukovych's Party of Regions is in front, with over 27 percent. That puts the party ahead of two pro-Western groups that led the country's Orange Revolution: the bloc headed by Yuliya Tymoshenko and President Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine.

Yushchenko's office said tonight the president plans to meet with leaders of all of the parties that made it into parliament, including Yanukovich and Tymoshenko before deciding on a possible coalition. Correspondents say the report may dampen hopes among some that the pro-Western parties would quickly unite to form a government.

The European Union, the United States, and the OSCE have praised the vote as meeting democratic standards.

(AP, ITAR-TASS, Interfax)

Torn Between East And West

Torn Between East And West

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)

See also:

Moscow Silent In The Run-Up To Ukraine's Elections

Is Kyiv On Stable Path Toward Integration With World Economy?

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.