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Tymoshenko's bloc leads in Ukraine polls - election commission

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With almost 33% of the votes counted in Ukraine's parliamentary elections, the party of the former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, leads with 33.24%, the Central Election Commission said Monday.
KIEV, October 1 (RIA Novosti) - With almost 33% of the votes counted in Ukraine's parliamentary elections, the party of the former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, leads with 33.24%, the Central Election Commission said Monday.

In second place is Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions with 30.50% of the vote. President Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine-People's Self Defense is in third place with 15.5%, according to the commission.

However, national exit polls put the Party of Regions, supported in the Russian-speaking east and south of the country, in the lead with 35.3%, and the opposition Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc in second place with 31.5%. The pro-presidential bloc was in third place, with 13.5%.

Other parties currently over the 3% threshold needed to claim seats in the 450-seat Supreme Rada are the Communist Party and the bloc led by parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, with around 5% and 4% of the vote respectively. The Socialists are currently hovering around the 3% mark.

Turnout at Sunday's elections was given at 62.93% by the Central Election Commission, but the final turnout has yet to be announced. 2.58% chose no candidate, making use of the 'against all' option on the ballot paper.

President Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko, his flamboyant ally in the 2004 'orange revolution,' pledged last week to form a coalition government after the election with government posts to be divided on a 50-50 basis. The party that wins more votes would nominate a prime minister, the other would propose a speaker.

Analysts have questioned the political elite's ability to form a functioning government to end a protracted political crisis in the ex-Soviet state fueled by rivalry between the president and premier, political side-swapping and corruption.

The president dismissed the legislature in April and called snap elections, accusing Yanukovych of "usurping power." The political foes agreed on the September 30 vote following months of litigation and street rallies.

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