The FINANCIAL — According to RIA Novosti, opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych, who is leading with over 30% of the vote in the first round of Ukraine's presidential election on January 17, has thanked his supporters.
"We can conclude that citizens have voted for changes," he said at a briefing after the first results of Sunday's voting had been released.
Yanukovych, who is the head of the pro-Russian Party of Regions, said Ukraine would be strong and independent if he won the elections.
First official results with less than half percent of the ballots counted gave Yanukovych 33.99% of the vote, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko 29.5% and ex-National Bank head Serhiy Tyhypko 8%.
According to the National Exit Poll-2010,Yanukovych is leading with 31.5% of the vote in the first round of the elections.
He is followed by Tymoshenko, who received 27.2% of the vote, and ex-National Bank head Serhiy Tyhypko, with 13.5%.
As none of the candidates is gaining 50% plus one vote needed to win the elections in the first round, a runoff is likely on February 7.