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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. The election is set to usher in a contingent of largely pro-Western lawmakers. President Petro Poroshenko's party has campaigned on an ambitious reform agenda and is expected to get the largest share of the vote, but there is a strong likelihood it will need to rule in a coalition.
While around 36 million people have been registered to vote, the election will not be held on the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in March, or in the eastern regions where unrest is still rumbling and armed pro-Russia separatist rebels have taken firm hold. Tamara Shupa, a 62-year old retiree, said she hoped incoming lawmakers would put an end to the war. "We are very tired of the war," Shupa said. "To bring about change, we need peace."
The election marks a closing chapter in the reset of Yanukovych's legacy. The former leader 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.
Andrei Voitenko, a 40-year old teacher casting his ballot in the capital, Kiev, said a new parliament would have to work toward repaying the high price paid by his fellow Ukrainians. "We are overhauling the government because Ukraine and Ukrainians have made a European choice," Voitenko said. "We need a new parliament to make a European future. We have drawn a line under our Soviet past."
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