| GEO World|
| Lead narrows in Ukraine presidential election|
| Updated at: 1323 PST, Monday, February 08, 2010|
KIEV: Ukraine's opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich led Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko by a margin of 2.74 percent in a run-off presidential election on Monday with 87.3 percent of votes counted, official results showed.
The central election commission gave Yanukovich a slender lead with 48.54 percent of the vote against 45.80 for Prime Minister Tymoshenko.
The official results appeared to cap a remarkable comeback for the rough-hewn Yanukovich, cast as the villain of the 2004 Orange Revolution when street protests overturned results that initially gave him victory in an election tainted by fraud.
The outcome could also see the country of 46 million people tilt back towards former Soviet master Russia after five years of bitter infighting and a sliding economy turned Orange euphoria into frustration and disappointment.
Both candidates pledged integration with Europe while improving ties with Moscow, but Tymoshenko is seen as more pro-Western. Yanukovich is unlikely to pursue membership of NATO, an 'Orange' goal that infuriated neighbouring Russia.
Accusing Yanukovich of cheating, Tymoshenko's team said they had counted 85 percent of votes and that she was leading by 0.8 percent, presaging a possible messy legal challenge.
Each side accused the other of fraud, but Tymoshenko stopped short of repeating a threat she made last week to call people out onto the streets if she believed the election was unfair.
Exit polls put Yanukovich three to four points ahead.
Tymoshenko was the co-architect of the 2004 revolution with pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko, but their relationship quickly soured.
Looking stern before reporters, the fiery former gas tycoon urged her team to "fight for every result, every document, every vote". The tone was moderate, and analysts said they doubted Tymoshenko could stage a repeat of 2004.
Sunday's vote, conducted in freezing temperatures and snow, appeared to reflect widespread disillusion among Ukrainians that the Orange Revolution failed to deliver prosperity or stability.
Yushchenko came a humiliating fifth in the first round of the election in January.