9 Feb 2010

Opposition leader on top in Ukraine election

6:05 am on 9 February 2010

Election officials in Ukraine say opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych has won a narrow victory in the presidential election there.

With more than 98% of votes counted, Mr Yanukovych has a lead of 2.7% over Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

According to media reports, he has 48.55% of the vote. Mrs Tymoshenko has around 45.85%.

Mr Yanukovych has called on Mrs Tymoshenko to concede defeat, but she refused. She has postponed a news conference on the result until Tuesday.

The BBC reports she is expected to challenge the result.

International observers described the vote as an "impressive display of democratic elections."

Mr Yanukovych, 59, was swept aside by the "Orange Revolution". He was a presidential candidate in the election in 2004, which was found to have been rigged in his favour.

However, people are deeply disillusioned over the failure of the revolution's leaders to deliver on their promises.

Incumbent President Viktor Yushchenko lost in the first round of the election last month.