Ukraine Ruling Party Claims Election Win

But ultranationalist party gets big boost

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 29, 2012 11:34 AM CDT

(Newser) – Ukraine's governing Party of Regions says it won yesterday's parliamentary elections, though it will be weeks before the new parliament's makeup becomes clear. Exit polls suggest President Viktor Yanukovich's ruling party took between 27.6% and 32% of the vote and the former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko's party received 24%. The ultranationalist Freedom Party, led by Oleg Tyagnibok, who has called for Jews and Russians to be kicked out of the country, received 12% of the vote—far more than pre-election polls suggested.

"With this vote our people have shown that they understand what a difficult economic situation the country was in, and that our party has taken the full responsibility over the situation," said Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. But the ruling party and allied Communist Party look poised to lose some degree of control, notes the New York Times. Indeed, the Freedom Party could get a boost from a cooperation agreement with Tymoshenko's Fatherland party. Despite opposition concerns, the voting process appeared largely fair—though an Odessa district saw reports of voters receiving disappearing-ink pens.

Election commission officials count ballots at a polling station in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.
Election commission officials count ballots at a polling station in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.   (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich leaves a voting booth at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich leaves a voting booth at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.   (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
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