Ukraine Exit Polls Show Near Dead-Heat

Exit polls in Ukraine's parliamentary election appeared to produce a near dead-heat on Sunday between the backers of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich and "orange" groups linked to President Viktor Yushchenko.

A poll conducted by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation gave the Regions Party 35.2% and their Communist allies a further 5.1%. In the "orange" camp, the bloc of ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko scored 31.5% and Our Ukraine had 13.4%.

A second poll, conducted a group of Western and Ukrainian institutes, credited the Regions with 34.9% and the Communists with 4.5%. Tymoshenko's bloc scored 32.4% and Our Ukraine had 14.1%.

Also clearing the minimum three percent barrier to win seats was the bloc of centrist former parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn with 3.7% or 3.8%, according to the surveys.

Lytvyn has not indicated which of the two camps he would back.