Ukraine: Exit polls give pro-Russian party victory

March 27, 2006 06:34


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Exit polls showed Viktor Yanukovych's pro-Russian party taking the largest chunk of votes in Ukraine's parliamentary elections Sunday in a stunning comeback for the man whose ballot-stuffing attempt to win the 2004 presidency triggered the Orange Revolution. The election dealt a crushing blow to President Viktor Yushchenko's pro-Western party, which also was trailing behind former Orange Revolution ally-turned-rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, the exit polls found. Yushchenko's job was not at stake, but the newly elected parliament will enjoy vast new powers under reforms that give it the right to name the prime minister and much of the Cabinet. A victory for Yanukovych's party could hamper Yushchenko's efforts to shake off Kremlin influence and win eventual membership in the European Union and NATO.

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