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You're reading: Now it’s Yanukovych facing tough choices

The independent watchdog Committee of Voters of Ukraine, which deployed thousands of monitors nationwide, indicated that the number and scale of election violations were not dissimilar to past elections under the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko, all of which were judged free and fair. 

While international observers, through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, drew a more critical conclusion, few can deny that despite significant problems with fairness, Ukraine’s election results demonstrate that pluralism and political opposition remain powerful forces in the country’s life and that elections in Ukraine are very different from those in Belarus, Russia or Kazakhstan. 

The likely outcome (as indicated by an average of six different exit polls) reveals a highly competitive political environment. Around 31 percent of votes were cast for the Regions Party and 12 percent for its ally, the Communist Party—yielding a total of 43 percent for the ruling team.

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