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too bad kerry didn't do what the ukrainians are doing?

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  • Greg Cannon
    Ukrainian Prime Minister Wins Runoff http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/wire/sns-ap-ukraine-elections,0,3463643.story?coll=sns-ap-world-headlines By
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 22, 2004
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      Ukrainian Prime Minister Wins Runoff
      http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/wire/sns-ap-ukraine-elections,0,3463643.story?coll=sns-ap-world-headlines


      By ANNA MELNICHUK
      Associated Press Writer

      November 22, 2004, 8:11 AM EST

      KIEV, Ukraine -- Official results showed Ukraine's
      prime minister winning the country's bitterly fought
      presidential runoff, but the opposition candidate
      declared fraud and called his supporters into the
      streets Monday after observers said the vote did not
      meet international standards.

      Over 10,000 opposition supporters gathered in Kiev's
      main Independence Square, where candidate Viktor
      Yushchenko urged his backers to demonstrate against
      alleged vote rigging.

      "We will not leave this place until we win,"
      Yushchenko, wearing a scarf in his campaign color,
      orange, told the crowd. "The people's will cannot be
      broken. People's votes cannot be stolen."

      Exit polls showed Yushchenko, a pro-Western reformer,
      winning Sunday's vote in contrast to the official
      results giving victory to Prime Minister Viktor
      Yanukovych -- hiking tensions in a battle for the
      presidency that many from the start have feared could
      lead to violence.

      A prominent group of foreign observers said Monday
      that the vote did not meet international democratic
      standards.

      The joint mission -- representing the Organization for
      Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of
      Europe, the European Parliament and NATO -- said they
      observed abuse of state resources in favor of the
      prime minister, who has the support of the outgoing
      president Leonid Kuchma and the government of Russia,
      Ukraine's powerful neighbor.

      The observer group, which had denounced abuses in the
      election's first round, said authorities had failed to
      fix the flaws.

      "With an even heavier heart than three weeks ago, I
      have to repeat the message from the first round; this
      election did not meet a considerable number of
      international standards for democratic elections,"
      said Bruce George, the team's leader.

      "The deficiencies have not been addressed. The abuse
      of state resources in favor of the prime minister
      continued, as well as an overwhelming media bias in
      his favor," he said.

      With nearly more than 99 percent of precincts counted,
      Prime Minister Yanukovych had 49.42 percent, compared
      to Yushchenko's 46.69 percent, the Central Election
      Commission said.

      But an exit poll, conducted by anonymous
      questionnaires under a program funded by several
      Western governments, including the United States, gave
      Yushchenko 54 percent of the vote, with Yanukovych
      trailing with 43 percent. Another poll put Yushchenko
      ahead by 49.4 to 45.9 percent, the Interfax news
      agency reported.

      Yanukovych spokesman Stepan Havrysh criticized the
      exit poll results, calling them "incorrect,
      unscientific and even comical."

      Yushchenko said the opposition will stage a "threefold
      offensive" aimed at battling election fraud: demanding
      an emergency parliamentary session, setting up a
      protest tent camp in central Kiev and challenging
      suspected voting violations in the courts.

      Many tents were already up in central Kiev, blocking
      traffic. The protesters appeared prepared to heed
      Yushchenko's call to stay in Independence Square. Many
      said they were heading home to get warmer clothes and
      then return.

      Meanwhile, many cars driving by the election
      commission's headquarters honked their horns in a sign
      of protest. The Central Election Commission office was
      heavily guarded by riot police and several armored
      vehicles.

      Yushchenko's key ally, Yulia Tymoshenko, called on
      Ukrainians to begin a general strike. "Stop working,
      stop learning, make it all stop," she said. Some 5,000
      students gathered in Lviv, an opposition stronghold in
      western Ukraine, to support Yushchenko and protest
      against election fraud.

      The election was seen as determining whether this
      ex-Soviet republic of 48 million tilts toward the West
      or its traditional patron, Russia. The bitter campaign
      also sparked fears that Ukraine could erupt into civil
      unrest as distrust in the government's ability to
      conduct a credible vote grew.

      Yushchenko foes claimed that the opposition gathering
      in the square could try to foment civil unrest with
      the aim of seizing power.

      "Let us negotiate quietly, let's differentiate between
      the truth and the dirt,and let's figure out all
      Yushchenko's complaints", said Vadym Konovalyuk, a
      lawmaker and a Yanukovych supporter.

      Both camps have complained of voting problems, and
      throughout Sunday there were numerous media reports of
      scuffles at polling stations, observers being barred
      and journalists being detained. One policeman guarding
      a polling station was found dead Sunday after
      apparently being hit over the head by intruders, news
      reports said.

      Yushchenko and some of his associates went to the
      Central Election Commission early Monday, contending
      that some precincts showed improbably high turnout
      figures of as much as 96 percent. Some 79 percent of
      registered voters turned out to vote nationwide.

      Yushchenko's campaign complained that Yanukovych
      supporters were given absentee ballots and bused out
      of their native regions and back again so they could
      vote twice.

      Yanukovych's side, meanwhile, cited voter list
      problems and said some stations were refusing to give
      out absentee ballots in violation of Ukrainian law.
      Lawmakers had voted to prohibit the use of absentee
      ballots amid fears that they could be used to falsify
      the results, but Kuchma refused to sign the measure
      Friday.

      The election came after months of opposition
      allegations of official interference, claims
      Yushchenko was poisoned and a cliffhanger first-round
      vote riddled with complaints of intimidation.

      Yushchenko says he wants to push the country to
      greater integration with Western Europe and has
      suggested seeking NATO membership.

      His critics frequently portray him as an American
      puppet who could be unduly influenced by his U.S.-born
      wife, and a nationalist who would split Ukraine and
      alienate Russia, Ukraine's key trade partner and main
      energy supplier.

      Yanukovych had been strongly praised by Russian
      President Vladimir Putin and would be expected to
      pursue close ties with Moscow; he has proposed making
      Russian a second official language and supports
      continuing Ukraine's participation in an embryonic
      economic union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

      Ukraine has a large contingent of soldiers in Iraq,
      but both candidates support withdrawing them.
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