8 February 2010, 16:26

Ukrainian elections: anything possible

Ukrainian elections: anything possible

As counts progress from Ukraine's run-off for President on Sunday, a lead established by the opposition candidate Viktor Yanukovich has shrunk from 13 percentage points to under 4 points. An official tally of results from 70 percent of the polling stations gives him 49.07 percent of the vote, and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, 45.27 percent.

As counts progress from Ukraine's run-off for President on Sunday, a lead established by the opposition candidate Viktor Yanukovich has shrunk from 13 percentage points to under 4 points. An official tally of results from 70 percent of the polling stations gives him 49.07 percent of the vote, and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, 45.27 percent.

She is catching up, adding credence to predictions by her campaign that the rivals will end in a dead heat. Pronouncements by head of the National Electoral Commission Andrei Magera that a neck-and-neck situation is highly improbable  now appear to have been put into question.

The Yanukovich campaign, however, expects its patron to secure a clear win by a margin of 4.4 points. It bases its prediction on expert analysis, exit polls and an independent tally of 93 percent of the protocols.

Observers fear Tymoshenko may use the narrow margin of Yanukovich's victory for challenging this victory as rigged  and trying to replay a situation in 2004 when she rallied supporters in Kiev streets. Yanukovich has already accused the Tymoshenko camp of rigging. He says nothing but attempted fraud can explain hiccups in the flow of counts from some of the western regions of Ukraine.

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