Returns from ballots cast by Ukrainian nationals living in Belarus in their country`s Sunday presidential election gave the most votes to opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych, said the Ukrainian embassy in Minsk and the country’s Consulate General in Brest.
The count reportedly put populist Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in the second place. The embassy would not specify how many votes each of the rivals obtained.
Two polling stations were set up in Belarus on January 17 to allow Ukrainian nationals to vote in their country’s presidential poll.
Ukrainian nationals residing in Minsk, the Homyel, Vitsyebsk and Minsk regions were eligible to vote at the embassy in Minsk. Ukrainians living in the Brest and Hrodna regions were able to cast their ballots in the Ukrainian Consulate General in Brest.
Only 9.89 percent of 6,777 eligible voters on the list of the Ukrainian embassy turned out in Minsk. According to the embassy, Serhiy Tihipko, a former central banker, finished third, incumbent President Viktor Yushchenko fourth and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a former parliament speaker and foreign minister of Ukraine, fifth.
In Brest, the turnout was 6.4 percent of the 4,673 registered voters. Mr. Yanukovych reportedly received 55.81 percent of the vote, Ms. Tymoshenko 19.6 percent, Mr. Tihipko 8.31 percent, Mr. Yatsenyuk 4.32 percent and the incumbent president 3.99 percent.
In Ukraine`s 2004 presidential election, Mr. Yanukovych got more than 50 percent of the vote from Ukrainian voters in Bealrus.
Ukraine faces a February 7 run-off vote between Mr. Yanukovych and Ms. Tymoshenko after Sunday’s presidential election produced no outright winner.
The election is expected to define how Ukraine handles relations with its powerful neighbors, and may help unblock frozen International Monetary Fund aid for its ailing economy.
With more than 80 percent of the ballots counted from Sunday`s poll, Mr. Yanukovych had a strong lead with 35.76 percent, well under the more than 50 percent needed for outright victory, said the central election commission. Ms. Tymoshenko had 24.72 percent.