The two frontrunners in Ukraine’s parliamentary election are both claiming victory tonight. The vote count is still going on but, for now, Viktor Yanukovich’s “Party of the Regions” is in the lead.
Although it is all but certain that Yanukovich will not have enough votes for a parliamentary majority, that hasn’t dampened his supporters enthusiasm.
Earlier Yulia Timochenko was quick to declare victory as she led in the vote count.
Even if the final tally puts her block behind that of Yanukovich, she and President Viktor Yuschenko have done a deal.
They will combine their political support and could secure a 25-seat majority in parliament, guaranteeing a liberal, reform-minded leadership.
But their “Orange Revolution” partnership has come to grief before. The President sacked Timochenko as Prime Minister two years ago, both accusing the other of corruption.
Tonight any allegations of irregularities are being directed towards the south and east of the country where Yanukovich holds most sway.
President Yuschenko wants a public enquiry into why vote counting there has been delayed, amid fears of election fraud.
But EU election monitors said the poll was perfectly democratic.