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Pro-Russian Opposition Leads in Ukraine Parliament Vote


Early official results of Ukraine's parliamentary election show opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych's pro-Russian party holding a slight lead.

A liberal bloc led by former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko trails Mr. Yanukovych by a narrow margin. The partial vote count indicates President Viktor Yushchenko's party is well back in third place.

None of the three blocs is expected to gain a majority of the 450 seats in parliament. Complete results are not expected until Tuesday.

Mr. Yanukovych is trying to form a coalition led by his Regions Party, but the VOA correspondent in Kiev says the bloc of President Yushchenko is working to form an alliance with the liberals led by Ms. Timoshenko as prime minister.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Monday pronounced Ukraine's election free and fair. Some 900 O.S.C.E observers monitored Sunday's vote.

Yulia Timoshenko was Viktor Yushchenko's most prominent ally in the Orange Revolution that toppled Ukraine's political establishment, but their alliance fell apart in bitter infighting last September, and Ms. Timoshenko was dismissed from the government.

With about one-fifth of the votes counted Monday, Mr. Yanukovych's party is winning just over 25 percent of the ballots.

Ms. Timoshenko's bloc is one to two percentage points behind, and the president's Our Ukraine Party has about 17 percent.

Ms. Timoshenko's help was a key factor in Mr. Yushchenko's rise to power in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution, a pro-democracy movement, named after the color that symbolized the Yushchenko campaign, that organized weeks of peaceful demonstrations and eventually overturned a flawed presidential vote in 2004.

Ukraine's Supreme Court discarded as fraudulent an initial ballot that had Mr. Yanukovych winning the presidency. Mr. Yushchenko prevailed in a repeat election.

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