The Ukrainian central election commission announced on Tuesday the official results of the presidential poll from Sunday. Opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich has a nearly 10 percent lead over Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
[Andriy Magera, Member of Central Election Commission]:
"For Victor Yanukovich 8,686,751 votes, which makes 35.32%. For Yulia Timoshenko 6,159,829 votes, which makes 25.9 %."
The outcome of the February 7 election will shape how Ukraine handles relations with its powerful neighbors and how it controls the budget deficit.
Yanukovich bounced back from disgrace in 2004 when he was tarred by a rigged election. Most of his support comes from the Russian-speaking regions in the south and the east.
He will have to work hard to make inroads into Ukrainian-speaking regions in the west and the center which may be more inclined to favor Tymoshenko.
Both Yanukovich and Tymoshenko have pledged to seek better relations with Russia, in part to avoid the rows of recent years which led to supply cut-offs affecting parts of Europe. They also said that they would strengthen ties with the European Union.