KIEV, Oct. 1 – Ukraine’s pro-Western opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is likely to replace pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych after her party’s unexpectedly strong showing at the Sept. 30 snap election, three exit polls suggested.
The Tymoshenko Bloc scored 31.5% of the vote, up from about 25% that the group had been widely expected to score, according to the National Exit Poll conducted by independent polling firms.
The scoring lets the Tymoshenko group, jointly with President Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense, which was reported by the poll to score 13.5%, to form the next government.
“At this election, Yulia Volodymyrivna [Tymoshenko] proved that she can get the post of the prime minister, while other people have to support a team play,” Yuriy Lutsenko, who leads Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense, said.
The Regions Party, led by Yanukovych, apparently scored the most votes of any single party, but the party’s showing is not likely to be enough to form a government with any of the other two groups had may enter Parliament.
The Regions Party scored 35.3%, while the Communist Party scored 5.1% and the group led by former Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn scored 3.8%, according to the poll.
Two other exit polls conducted by independent polling agencies showed similar results indicating that the Tymoshenko group was likely to be able to form the government with Out Ukraine-People’s Self-defense.
The Central Election Commission showed even stronger performance by the Tymoshenko group and by Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense after counting 31% of the vote as of 8:00 in the morning on Monday.
The Regions Party was close to conceding the election. Dmytro Tabachnyk, a senior member of the party, said early Monday the pro-Western parties may form the government and pledged the Regions will concentrate on the presidential election in 2009.
“I can only pray for this,” Tabachnyk said about the change that the pro-Western groups may form the government. “This will solve many problems and will ease the situation for the Regions Party at the presidential election.”
Based on the National Exit Poll, the Tymoshenko group apparently won 159 seats in the 450-seat Parliament, while Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense got 68 seats. The scoring gives the two groups 227 seats.
The Regions Party may get 178 seats, while the Communist Party may get 26 seats, while the Lytvyn Bloc would get 19 seats, according to data calculated based on the poll.
Data from two other exit polls show that the Tymoshenko group and Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense may get even stronger majority from 233 to 237 seats, respectively.
Tymoshenko said she will meet Yushchenko on Monday and will ask him to start immediately talks over forming the pro-Western coalition and the government, which she believes will be completely formed in “several weeks.”
“Tomorrow I will ask the president to start forming the coalition and the government,” Tymoshenko said. “I have no doubts what kind of coalition there will be.” (tl/ez)