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Pro-Russian Opposition Leads Ukraine Parliamentary Race

Partial results of Ukraine's parliamentary election show the pro-Russian party of opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych in the lead.

With more than 50 percent of the vote counted, his Party of Regions won more than 27 percent. A liberal bloc led by former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko garnered 23 percent, and President Viktor Yushchenko's party won 16 percent.

Mr. Yanukovych is trying to form a coalition, but President Yushchenko instructed advisors to work on an alliance with supporters of Ms. Timoshenko. Officials also announced the president plans to meet Tuesday with leaders of all parties that make it into parliament.

The head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe observer team in Ukraine, U.S. Congressman Alcee Hastings, pronounced the election free and fair. In Washington, White House spokesman Scott McClellan praised the vote and said the United States looks forward to working with the new government once it is formed.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, the European Union urged Ukraine to continue efforts to build ties with the 25-nation bloc.

Yulia Timoshenko was Viktor Yushchenko's most prominent ally in the Orange Revolution that toppled Ukraine's political establishment, but their alliance fell apart in bitter infighting last September, and Ms. Timoshenko was dismissed from the government.

The Orange Revolution led to a challenge to the 2004 election that gave Mr. Yanukovych the presidency. Ukraine's Supreme Court discarded that vote as fraudulent, and Mr. Yushchenko prevailed in a repeat election.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.