LVIV, Ukraine, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko will be Ukraine's next president, election officials said Monday.
With around 96 percent of the ballots counted in Sunday's runoff vote against pro-Moscow candidate Viktor Yanukovych, officials said it was statistically impossible for Yushchenko to be overtaken.
Latest figures gave Yushchenko 53 percent of the vote to Yanukovych's 44 percent.
The Sunday elections were a rerun of elections held in November. Yanukovych, the nation's prime minister, was declared the winner in that vote, but the results were annulled by the constitutional court due to massive vote rigging.
Speaking to tens of thousands of supporters in Kiev's Independence Square, Yushchenko said people power had brought down one of the most corrupt regimes in Europe. Ukraine, he said, was finally free.
More than 12,000 observers monitored the elections across the country. Although there were reports of minor irregularities, the observers said the elections had been free and fair.
Early indications suggested, as expected, that most of Yushchenko's support had been drawn from the central and western regions of the country. The east and south were generally solidly behind Yanukovych.