Pro-Western parties will dominate Ukraine's parliament after an election handed President Petro Poroshenko a mandate to end a separatist conflict and steer the country further out of Russia's orbit into Europe's mainstream.
Poroshenko planned to start coalition talks on Monday after exit polls and partial results showed most of the groups that were holding up democratic and legal reforms demanded by the European Union had been swept out of parliament on Sunday.
He still faces huge problems: Russia is resisting moves by Kiev to one day join the European Union, a ceasefire is barely holding in the east where government forces have been fighting pro-Russian separatists, and the economy is in dire straits.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin can still influence events, not least as the main backer of the rebels in the east and through Moscow's role as natural gas supplier to Ukraine and the EU.
But with his own bloc and a party led by his ally, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, running neck and neck on more than 21 percent support after more than a quarter of votes on party lists were counted, Poroshenko is assured of dominating parliament.
"The majority of voters were in favour of the political forces that support the president's peace plan and seek a political solution to the situation in the Donbass," Poroshenko said soon after polls closed, referring to the region where fighting has been heaviest in the industrialised east.
Final results from voting on party lists and single-seat constituencies will not be known for days. But with a third like-minded party, Selfhelp, on 11 percent with 38 percent of votes counted, Poroshenko can forge a strong coalition government.
The 49-year-old confectionery magnate is likely to continue working in close tandem with Yatseniuk, with the latter possibly staying on as prime minister to handle sensitive talks with the West on aid for the war-shattered economy.
A hawk in dealings with Russia, Yatseniuk is liked in the West for his commitment to deep reforms and astute stewardship of the economy which has been wrecked by the separatist conflict in the eastern regions.
The Kiev government says it is hoping for modest economic growth next year after a 6 percent decline in 2014, but the World Bank expects the economy to continue shrinking.
In line with measures agreed with the IMF, Yatseniuk's government has cut budget expenditure and let the Ukrainian hryvnia float. The currency has lost about 40 percent of its value against the dollar since the start of the year.