Ukraine voters make their picks for parliamentary seats

World Today

Exit polls for Ukraine indicate that the bloc supporting President Petro Poroshenko came out on top. Ukraine’s new parliament will be made up of pro-Europeans and nationals. It’s a shift that could put new strains on ties with Russia, not to mention deepen divisions between Ukraine’s east and west sides.

CCTV America’s Kate Parkinson reports.

Ukraine voters make their picks for parliamentary seats

Exit polls for Ukraine indicate that the bloc supporting President Petro Poroshenko came out on top. Ukraine's new parliament will be made up of pro-Europeans and nationals. It's a shift that could put new strains on ties with Russia. Not to mention deepen divisions between Ukraine's east and west sides. CCTV America's Kate Parkinson reports.

President Porosheno wants to break Ukraine from its Soviet past. He called these snap parliamentary elections to strengthen his mandate and put Ukraine on a pro-Europe agenda. The president’s wife joined the steady stream of voters casting their ballots at this polling station in Kiev.

While Poroshenko said he is committed to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine as he visited troops on the front-line, it was a reminder of the many challenges that lay ahead.

“My visit here today on election day has an aim to protect servicemen’s right to vote,” Poroshenko said. “Because when it’s necessary to defend the country everybody remembers them, but when talking about voting rights, unfortunately two thirds of soldiers don’t have an opportunity to be included in the list of voters.”

With most soldier’s not voting, the rebel-held east boycotting, and Russian-annexed Crimea not taking part either, these elections have been plagued by problems.

“We have also tension inside the country and we have seen example of frustration and violence against individual candidates and so on,” Kent Harstedt, OSCE special coordinator for Ukraine’s parliamentary election, said. “So all of this, of course from our perspective, is totally unacceptable, but it occurs. It’s a challenge to the society to be able to perform the election. Because the great majority of this country wants to vote and come out and show their vote in a peaceful and democratic matter.”

“It’s Time to Unite” is Poroshenko’s slogan, but it’s not going to be easy. President Poroshenko wants to steer Ukraine out of Russia’s sphere of influence and put the country firmly on a path towards eventual membership of the European Union. While these elections may well strengthen his bid, they may also deepen the divide in this war torn country.

For more on the Ukraine elections, CCTV America talked with William Courtney. He is an adjunct senior fellow at the RAND Corporation, and a former U.S. ambassador with insight into Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian affairs.

William Courtney of RAND Corporation talks about Ukraine election

For more on the Ukraine elections, CCTV America talked with William Courtney. He is an adjunct senior fellow at the RAND Corporation. He is also a former U.S. ambassador with insight into Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian affairs.