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Exit Polls: Yanukovych wins Ukraine election

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Feb. 7, 2010, 9:23 p.m. | Politics — by Reuters

The National Exit Poll said Yanukovych, the opposition leader, had secured 48.7 percent of the vote against Tymoshenko's 45.5 percent.

Reuters

Ukraine's Victor Yanukovych has narrowly won the presidential election against Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, exit polls said on Feb. 7. The National Exit Poll, a consortium partly funded by western embassies, said opposition leader Yanukovych had secured 48.7 percent of the vote against Tymoshenko's 45.5 percent. Another exit poll, by ICTV, said he won 49.8 percent of the vote against her 45.2 percent.

The victory by Yanukovych, if confirmed by official results, marks a remarkable comeback by the 59-year-old ex-mechanic who was disgraced in 2004 by the "Orange Revolution" mass street protests which Tymoshenko led.

But the closeness of the result, indicated by the exit polls, suggested that Tymoshenko might contest the outcome. She threatened last week to call people out on to the streets if there was any evidence of fraud.

Yanukovych's election in 2004 in a poll deemed to have been rigged was quashed by a court and he lost a third round of voting to his rival, the pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko.

Sunday's runoff vote in the ex-Soviet republic of 46 million people climaxed a bitter campaign of smears and insults exchanged between Yanukovych and 49-year-old Tymoshenko.

The fiery, sharp-tongued Tymoshenko branded him a "puppet" of wealthy industrialists in the east of the country whose business interests he represents. She also denounced him a coward for refusing to face her in a pre-election TV debate.

He accused her of making outlandish promises that she could not keep and telling "beautiful lies".

His election is certain to lead to a warming of ties with former imperial master Russia. These plunged into a deep chill under Yushchenko because of the latter's strong Ukrainian nationalist line and his bid to take Ukraine into NATO.

Yanukovych has spoken out against NATO membership and, at a meeting with the newly-appointed Russian ambassador on Friday, said that Ukraine, under him, would turn a new page and re-establish traditional warm relations with its big neighbour.

He has, like Tymoshenko, also pledged to work to integrate Ukraine in Europe though he has not spelled out detail.

He built a campaign around helping to defeat poverty in his country and his main task will be to get the struggling economy, hard hit by the global downturn, back on to its feet.

He has said he is ready to begin talking to the International Monetary Fund which suspended disbursement of its $16.4 billion bail-out programme late last year because Ukraine breached pledges. But he supports higher social spending in the country which runs counter to IMF calls for fiscal restraint.
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Anonymous Feb. 7, 2010, 9:36 p.m.    

The National Exit Poll is conser4avateon ist estimates They have consistently underestimated the extent to the margin. The 5% winning margin is within the range expected. It is not a close result as implies. The fact still remains that the whole Presidential direct election is a farce and a circus parade.

Ukraine would have been much better off if the Parliament elected the head of state as is the case in Estonia, Latvia and a host of other European States. At a cost of over one million dollars the only positive form the election was the removal of Yushenko from office.

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Anonymous Feb. 7, 2010, 10:25 p.m.    

Only in the mind of a particular spammer does the notion of taking the vote away from the people, and giving it to a group of legally unaccountable oligarchs seem more &quot;democratic&quot; than a direct plebicite... It's absured on its face. Upwards of 80% of Ukrainians prefer a strong president who is directly elected by the people. That's because Ukrainians know what democracy actually means.

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Anonymous Feb. 7, 2010, 9:39 p.m.    

A 5% margin is also consistent with Public opinion Polls which showed a 10 winning margin but had also underestimated Tymoshenko's first round vote by 5%. A conservative Split analysis of minor candidate support base also indicated a 5% win to Yanukovych

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Anonymous Feb. 7, 2010, 10:47 p.m.    

Guys, do you know an official website, where I can follow up the actual results by territories?

Thanks

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