Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s party is in the lead with over 22 percent of votes in the country’s Sunday parliamentary elections, exit polls say. Poroshenko’s bloc is closely followed by two other pro-Europe parties.
A total of seven political parties will be represented in Ukraine’s Parliament – Verkhovnaya Rada.
The Petro Poroshenko Bloc took a winning margin with 23 percent and is closely followed by the People’s Front party – led by Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk – which got over 21 percent, according to international exit polls.
“We can say today that a third of voters supports the president’s course for carrying out reforms for entering the European Union,” said Yuriy Lutsenko, the leader of the Poroshenko Bloc.
After the exit polls were announced, Poroshenko thanked voters for their support and said that coalition talks will start on Monday.
In third place with 14 percent is the newly-formed Self-Help party led by Andrey Sadovuy, the mayor of the major western Ukrainian city of Lvov. Next is the Opposition Bloc headed by former deputy prime ministerYury Boyko with over 7 percent, according to the polls.
The Radical Party lead by nationalist Oleg Lyashko took fifth place in preliminary polls with over 6 percent, and was followed by far-right Svoboda (Freedom) party with less than 6 percent.
The least votes – over 5 percent – were given to the All-Ukrainian Union Batkivshchyna (Fatherland), currently led by Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko, who is calling for a national referendum on Ukraine joining NATO and imposing sanctions against Russia.
It is no surprise that the three major pro-EU parties would secure the most votes in the Rada elections. However, the unexpected turn is the high percentage of the Opposition Bloc which is linked with the allies of the ousted President Viktor Yanukovich.
The international exit poll was conducted by the joint forces of the Canadian government, the Sociological Group “Rating” (Ukraine), Baltic Surveys (The Gallup Organisation) with the support of the International Republican Institute (IRI).
The Ukrainians voted Sunday to choose from a total of 29 political parties. A party has to pass the threshold of five percent in order to be represented in the Rada. Half of the seats in the 450 member parliament will be filled by the leading blocs, while the other half will be filled by candidates running in single-member constituencies.
However, voting did not take place in the eastern part of the country in the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Authorities of these regions stated they would not go to the polls and plan to hold elections of their own heads and parliaments on November 2.
Russia has supported the eastern republics saying it will accept the results of both elections.
“It’s now necessary to support fledgling ties between Kiev and the People’s Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk and then to start a comprehensive political dialogue with the purpose of finding ways for reaching national accord and conducting constitutional reform with the participation of all regions and political forces,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Verdens Gang (VG) Norwegian newspaper on Saturday.