Poroshenko's bloc leads Ukraine's parliamentary election
Updated: 2014-10-27 11:15
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko talks to the media during a news briefing in Kiev, October 26, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
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The People's Front of Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk came closely behind, getting about 21 percent of the votes cast for the 29 competing parties, trailed by Samopomich, the party headed by Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi, with about 12 percent of the vote, the polls showed.
Others above the barrier required to be able to enter parliament are: former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's Fatherland Party; the nationalist Svoboda party; the Radical Party of politician Oleh Lyashko; and the pro-Russian Opposition Bloc party, the polls showed.
The Opposition Bloc, led by former Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko, gained about 7 percent, the polls showed.
On Sunday, Ukrainians cast their votes in the snap elections with 29 political parties and 1,401 candidates contesting in what experts called "the most controversial election in the history of independent Ukraine" to help their country emerge from an ongoing crisis.
Poroshenko's decision in August to call early elections to " purify" the parliament has sparked controversy in the country, which is already torn between an industrial, Russian-speaking east and a more westward-looking west.
In a statement published on the presidential website after exit polls showed the Poroshenko Bloc led the election, he thanked voters for backing a "democratic, reformist, pro-Ukrainian and pro- European majority."
"The majority of voters were in favor of the political forces that support the president's peace plan and seek a political solution to the situation in the Donbass (region of east Ukraine), " the statement said.
Some 36.5 million voters were expected to participate in the elections. Across the country, 32,086 polling stations were opened at 8 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) and were closed at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT).
Ukraine's Central Election Commission said that as of 16:00 local time (1400 GMT), almost 40 percent of Ukrainians have cast their votes in 58 constituencies across the country. Official results of the vote will be released within 15 days.
Crimean residents who consider themselves as Ukrainians have the opportunity to vote in calm Ukrainian regions.
Polling stations have been also set up in the government- controlled areas in the eastern Lugansk and Donetsk regions -- about 5 million of Ukraine's 36.5 million-strong electorate.
Extra security measures have been taken in the two restive regions, where 4,000 police forces were additionally mobilized. A total of 82,000 police officers were deployed across the country to guarantee public order during electoral process.
The eighth Ukrainian parliamentary elections are conducted under a mixed system, with 225 members of parliament elected on party lists and the remaining 225 in single-seat constituencies.