KIEV—

Petro Poroshenko

seemed staid to win Ukraine’s presidential elections Sunday though carrying to enter a second-round runoff, after 3 exit polls showed a chocolate aristocrat had won some-more than half a vote.

The abounding former unfamiliar apportion won some-more than 55% of a vote, according to a 3 exit polls expelled Sunday night. According to a polls, he perceived 55.7% to 57.3% of a vote.

According to Ukrainian choosing rules, a claimant can win a presidential choosing undisguised by receiving some-more than half a opinion in a initial round. If a tip claimant receives reduction than half a vote, he or she contingency enter a runoff opposite a second-place finisher.

Former Prime Minister

Yulia Tymoshenko

finished second, according to a exit polls, that pronounced she won 12.4% to 12.9% of a vote.

Ukrainians headed to a polls to name a country’s fifth boss given a tumble of a Soviet Union, even as a vast swath of a race were incompetent to vote. WSJ’s James Marson reports. Photo: AP

Election officials pronounced some-more than 40% of Ukraine’s purebred electorate had expel their ballots by 3 p.m. internal time, with 5 hours left before polls were due to close. Still, fewer than a entertain of a common polling stations had non-stop in a eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, tranquil by pro-Russia separatists who denounced a vote.

The choosing comes 3 months after pro-Europe protesters on Kiev’s executive block defeated Kremlin-backed President

Viktor Yanukovych,

who fled to Russia. Since then, a pro-Russia recoil opposite a new Kiev authorities in a south and easterly has fractured a former Soviet commonwealth and ushered in a misfortune predicament given a tumble of a U.S.S.R. in 1991.

Rebels who announced eccentric republics in a Donetsk and Luhansk regions, together home to 6.57 million people, prided themselves Sunday on disrupting a vote. Polling stations had non-stop Sunday morning in usually 9 of a 34 counties in those regions, according to Ukraine’s Central Election Commission. Crimea, a Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia, was also left out.

Ukraine’s new boss will get a fractured republic ensnared in both domestic and mercantile crises.

The insurgent rebellion in a easterly has left dozens of people dead, divided Ukrainians and remade many of a country’s southeast into a dispute zone. Officials in Kiev wish a devise to give particular regions some-more energy over their possess affairs can damp alienated electorate in a easterly and reason a republic together.

On a mercantile front, Ukraine faces a prolonged highway of tough reforms to accommodate a charge of a $17 billion rescue package a International Monetary Fund authorized Apr 30. Those reforms call for a high boost in taxes and domestic gas prices, joined with purgation measures to revoke spending. Even with such moves, a IMF predicts a 5% contraction in Ukraine’s economy in 2014 and says some-more bailout income could be required.

Many opposite a republic of 45.4 million people, including Crimea, hoped a choosing would broach a renouned charge to a new boss able of finale a turmoil.

“There’s good wish that this will be a commencement of fortitude in a country,” pronounced

Galina Zamotayeva,

a 54-year-old endocrinologist casting her list during a propagandize in Kiev. Voters swarming into a prohibited room in a propagandize and waited in prolonged lines to accept ballots.

Violence in a easterly flared in a days before a vote. There were no evident reports of clashes between supervision infantry and separatists on Sunday, though Italy’s unfamiliar method pronounced an Italian photographer had been killed Saturday in a area of Slovyansk, a heart of a insurgent insurgency. A method executive gave few sum though pronounced it was a “violent death.”



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An Ukrainian maestro of a Maidan leisure transformation casts his list for a presidential elections, during a polling hire in executive Kiev on May 25.
European Pressphoto Agency

The Kremlin has denounced a new halt supervision in Kiev as deceptive and announced Mr. Yanukovych a legitimate boss of Ukraine. But Russian President

Vladimir Putin

pronounced Friday that a Kremlin designed to “respect a choice of a Ukrainian people” in Sunday’s choosing and work with a winner.

Ukrainian officials need a vast audience to uncover a choosing represents a vast swath of a nation.

“The appearance in a elections will be high,” Ukraine’s Central Election Commission Chairman Mykhailo Okhendovsky pronounced Sunday. He pronounced a outcome would be deliberate legitimate regardless of a appearance rates in Donetsk and Luhansk. Ukraine had a 67% audience nationally in a initial turn of voting in a many new presidential elections in 2010.

A tiny series of electorate from Crimea done an additional bid to expel their list on Sunday. They enclosed a organisation of Crimean Tatars, who mostly against a Russian expel and who trafficked to a mainland.

Valentina Muschinskaya,

a 65-year-old executive of a Russian-language propagandize in Crimea, took a overnight sight to a Ukrainian collateral with her sister to expel her ballot.

“We are Ukrainian patriots,” she said. She pronounced she designed to opinion for Mr. Hrytsenko, a former invulnerability minister, since she didn’t wish to opinion for a abounding tycoon.

In a executive Ukrainian range of Dnipropetrovsk, officials reported complicated audience early in a day. Security in a segment has mostly been cumulative by a aristocrat governor,

Igor Kolomoisky,

who has been bankrolling troops and army units with his personal wealth.

R. Spencer Oliver,

Secretary General of a Parliamentary Assembly of a Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, toured a region, and pronounced there seemed to be no threats to security. He pronounced he had also perceived reports from OSCE officials in Odessa and Kharkiv, that pronounced all was “going smoothly.”

He conceded that audience in Luhansk and Donetsk would be distant lighter. “I consider that it is hapless that some tools of a republic won’t be casting votes, though it’s a really tiny percentage,” he said.

Russia didn’t send choosing monitors and Russian Foreign Minister

Sergei Lavrov

pronounced Friday a Kremlin would rest on a OSCE’s assessment. The U.S. and a series of European countries did send observers.

U.S. Sen.

Kelly Ayotte

(R., N.H.) arrived in Kiev as partial of a monitoring goal led by a International Republican Institute, a Washington-based democracy-building nonprofit.

She pronounced she met Mr. Poroshenko and Ms. Tymoshenko, both of whom requested troops assist from a U.S. so Ukraine can seaside adult a beleaguered army. Ms. Ayotte is assisting allege a check in a Senate that would supply Ukraine with physique armor, antitank missiles and antiaircraft weapons.

Ms. Ayotte pronounced she hopes to win support from Democrats. “They are not seeking us for boots on a ground,” Ms. Ayotte said. “They are seeking us for some simple support.”

—Alan Cullison in Dnipropetrovsk contributed to this article.

Write to Paul Sonne during paul.sonne@wsj.com