Oct 28, 2012 / 8:41 pm
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's party claimed victory Sunday in a parliamentary vote tainted by the jailing of the country's top opposition leader.
Despite a strong showing of pro-Western opposition parties in the proportional portion of the vote, Yanukovych's Party of Regions was likely to retain its parliamentary majority as its candidates were expected to take the lead in individual races across the country.
With former Premier Yulia Tymoshenko in jail and widespread fears of election fraud, the West is paying close attention to the vote in the strategic ex-Soviet state, which lies between Russia and the European Union, and serves as a key conduit for transit of Russian energy supplies to many EU countries. An election deemed undemocratic by international observers could freeze Kyiv's ties with the West and push Ukraine toward Moscow.
Canada is among the countries which have expressed concerns about democratic fairness in Ukraine and has sent 500 election observers to the country.
An exit poll conducted by three leading polling agencies showed the Party of Regions ahead with some 28.1 per cent of the vote. Tymoshenko's Fatherland party is poised to get about 25 per cent of the proportional vote, while the Udar (Punch) led by world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko is set to get around 15 per cent, according to the survey.
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