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Ukraine presidential poll set for February run-off

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Ukraine presidential poll set for February run-off


Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich is set to face his old foe Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in a second round run-off for the presidency after winning the most votes in Sunday’s election.

Incomplete results have Yanukovich taking around an 11 per cent lead over his rival, but neither appears to have won enough for an outright win.

Five years ago it was the pro-Moscow Yanukovich’s victory in the 2004 election that was annulled by the people-powered Orange Revolution. This time he seems to have mustered more popular support.

With her European leanings, Tymoschenko is considered more likely to pull in votes from the other failed 16 candidates in the run-off. Although she previously had stormy relations with the Kremlin, she is now considered by the Russian leadership as someone they can do business with.

There was a relatively low turn out, reported as less than 50 per cent. This did nothing to help the incumbent president, Viktor Yushchenko, who has been knocked out of the running.

Whoever does eventually win, they will have to deal with considerable voter disillusionment in the former Soviet Republic.

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