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  Wednesday, October 23, 2019
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The pro-Russian Party of Regions has taken just over 30% of the vote in the country's parliamentary elections
The pro-Russian Party of Regions, led by former premier and defeated 2004 presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych, has taken just over 30% of the vote in the country's parliamentary elections. With almost 70% of the vote counted, it is followed by former Prime Minister Tymoshenko's eponymous bloc with 22.49% of the vote, the pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc (15.29%), the Socialist Party (6.29%) and the Communist Party (3.54%). Experts say the Party of Regions may extend its lead over other parties as fewer votes have been counted in Yanukovych's strongholds in the east and south of the country. Parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn's bloc and Nataliya Vetrenko's People's Opposition currently lack about 0.5% to overcome the 3% threshold to be represented in the 450-seat Rada. Tymoshenko's bloc is expected to continue talks with Our Ukraine on the formation of an "orange coalition," reviving memories of when she and incumbent leader Viktor Yushchenko stood together in the capital protesting the results of the winter 2004 presidential election. Yushchenko later appointed Tymoshenko, who had rallied crowds of demonstrators in what became known as the "orange revolution" and has all but claimed victory in the current vote, prime minister only to fire her after about eight months. She has made little secret of her desire to return to the post. Talking about the mooted "orange" coalition Monday, Tymoshenko said: "I am 99% sure that the coalition will be formed, and I will mark this victory with intensive work." However, much horse-trading lies ahead, and some politicians have suggested that the Party of Regions could form a coalition with the pro-presidential bloc. Yanukovych, who served as prime minister under ex-president Leonid Kuchma, said he was ready to return to government. "The Party of Regions is ready to work with all political forces for Ukraine's economic revival," he said. "We are ready to take responsibility for forming a new government."
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