Ukraine votes to overhaul parliament tainted by legacy of deposed president


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KIEV, Ukraine — Voters in Ukraine headed to the polls Sunday to elect a new parliament, overhauling a legislature tainted by its association with ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.

While around 36 million people have been registered to vote, the election will not be held in areas controlled by pro-Russian separatist rebels in the east.

President Petro Poroshenko's party is expected to get the largest share of the vote, but it is not certain whether the party will be able to form a government unaided.

Other parties expected to win seats in parliament include Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's Popular Front and the Fatherland party of Yulia Tymoshenko. Another strong contender is firebrand nationalist Oleh Lyashko's Radical Party, which has commanded much public attention through lavish campaign spending.

The political forces with the best prospects in the vote all broadly share a pro-Western posture and have stated their ambition to promote the thorough reforms needed to reverse Ukraine's cataclysmic economic decline.

Ukraine's woes have been compounded in recent months by a conflict against armed separatists on the border with Russia that has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people.

Yanukovych was deposed in February after months of sometimes violent protests sparked by his snap decision to put ties with the European Union on hold in favor of deepening trade relations with Russia. The protests broadened into a mass uprising fueled by rage at the pervasive corruption seen as a leading cause of the country's economic sluggishness.

The outgoing parliament was previously dominated by Yanukovych's Party of Regions, which had its main base of support in the heavily Russian-speaking industrial east.

Some supporters of the Party of Regions are seen as likely to back the Opposition Bloc, which includes many former Yanukovych associates. It was unclear if the party will be able to overcome the 5 percent vote threshold needed to enter parliament.

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