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It may be nearly as important whether Svoboda manages to reach the threshold of 5 percent of the vote to guarantee parliamentary representation under the country’s new electoral law.

Svoboda, which last week signed an electoral pact with Mrs. Tymoshenko’s party, has gained support with its nationalist platform that calls for repealing controversial reforms to the country’s pension and tax systems, reducing foreign ties and opposing any effort to make Russian an official language.

Extremist views

The party’s rising profile also is prompting concerns in Israel, which fears that Svoboda’s extreme views such as its denial of the Holocaust would be legitimized if it gained seats in parliament.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry on Saturday condemned the party as a throwback to “the darkest pages of history” that included World War II.

Alex Miller, one of three members of the Israeli parliament observing the Ukrainian election, said in an interview that Svoboda threatened to undo the warming relations between Ukraine and the Jewish state.

“Everything could be jeopardized by this party,” he said, pointing to a pending free-trade deal and a pension agreement for Ukrainian retirees in Israel as potential casualties.

“Recall that in their first election, the Nazis only won two seats in the German legislature. It’s never safe to dismiss a group because it is small.”

Kiev was decked out for the election with concerts in several city squares and restaurants planning to stay open late, but the mood on the street was subdued.

Oksana Demyan, a 23-year-old university student, said most Ukrainians were put off by the choices they had in the election.

“There are very few candidates who excite the public,” said Ms. Demyan, who said she voted for Mrs. Tymoshenko’s party. “It’s like a choice between scandals, and not a choice between parties.”

Viktor Podolsky, the 44-year-old owner of a coffee bar, said he hoped Mr. Yanukovych’s power would be curbed after the vote.

“The important thing is to have a serious opposition in order to block the ruling parties from doing too much without problem,” he said, although he refused to say which party he supported. “I have my views, but everyone is welcome in my shop regardless of who they support.”

Full official results are not expected until Monday or Tuesday, election officials said.