Rivals seek Ukraine poll victory

Other News Materials 30 September 2007 11:42 (UTC +04:00)

(BBC) Polls have opened in Ukraine's parliamentary election, the latest battle between President Viktor Yushchenko and PM Viktor Yanukovych .

A close contest is expected between parties siding with the president, who led the Orange Revolution of 2004, and allies of his Russian-leaning premier.

Mr Yushchenko dissolved parliament and called early elections after months of confrontation with Mr Yanukovych .

Polls close at 2200 (1900 GMT), and results are expected on Monday.

Speaking on TV on Saturday, Mr Yushchenko , the Western-leaning former financier, urged Ukrainians to vote for "fundamental change".

"Either you vote for changes in your lives or you vote to bring back the past and those who have divided us and infected the very body of our nation," he said.

" There's been enough chaos, stagnation and false reforms," said the president, who was left pockmarked by dioxin poisoning in the run-up to the presidential election in 2004.

That election was won by Mr Yanukovych but was rerun amid allegations of mass vote rigging.

The popular street campaign for fresh elections became known as the Orange Revolution.

Mr Yanukovych was beaten in the rerun, but made a comeback as prime minister in March 2006 when his Party of the Regions became the largest in parliament.