Ukraine exit polls: Yanukovich wins presidential election
Ukraine exit polls show Viktor Yanukovich won Sunday's vote by a small margin. If the result survives fraud allegations, it would be a huge comeback for the pro-Russian candidate who was sent packing during the 2004 'Orange Revolution.'
(Page 2 of 2)
"The result of the majority of exit polls are within the margin of statistical error," he told journalists "Conclusions about who the victor is can be made only on the basis of the real results of the Central Election Commission."Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Ukraine's politics have been stormy since the three weeks of rolling street demonstrations in 2004 that overturned Yanukovich's allegedly fraud-tainted win and led to the election of Viktor Yushchenko in a fresh election.
The incumbent Mr. Yushchenko, who was knocked out in the election's first round with a humiliating 5.4 percent of the votes, told journalists Sunday that the choice between Yanukovich and his Orange rival Tymoshenko was a "shame."
"I think Ukrainians will be ashamed for their choice, but this is democracy," Yushchenko said.
What Kiev voters had to say
Around Kiev on Sunday, voting was peaceful and orderly, and a random sample of those casting ballots suggested that most had little enthusiasm for either candidate.
"There is no real choice here," said Alexander Isakov, who voted with his wife at a downtown polling station. "What we've learned over the past few years is that elections don't solve anything."
Irina Trushenko, a painter, said she wished there was somebody "new" to vote for. "But if Yanukovich comes to power, it will be the end of democracy in Ukraine. He has to be stopped," she said.
But Ivan Svinarenko, a service worker, said "nobody believes in Yulia [Tymoshenko] anymore.... I'm voting for Yanukovich because he's the lesser of two evils."
Most experts say the mood in Ukraine is sour on all politicians. And exit polls bear that out, showing about 5 percent of Ukrainians exercising their option to vote "against all" -- the highest such result in Ukraine's post-Soviet history.
This may indicate that there is little possibility that crowds will come out to protest alleged fraud -- as they did in 2004 -- if either of the candidates call for street demonstrations.
"We know there was fraud, but it was probably on both sides," says Volodymyr Gorbach, an expert with the independent Institute of Euro-Atlantic Integration in Kiev. "It's going to be a tense few days, and it's too early to make any firm predictions."