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31 October 2004 -- Exit polls show that Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich and challenger Viktor Yushchenko finished on top in Ukraine's presidential election today and will face each other in a runoff next month.

Two polls, conducted by Ukrainian research institutes, put Western-leaning Yushchenko in the lead. But the polls indicate both leading candidates fell short of the 50 percent needed to win outright in the first round.

According to one poll, in which respondents concealed their identity, Yushchenko scored 45.2 percent to 36.8 percent for the prime minister. The second survey, in which voters were identified, gave Yushchenko a tighter lead, 41.9 percent to 40.1 percent.

Edil Baisalov, co-leader of the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO), said observers have found repeated instances of voters being turned away because their names didn't appear on voting lists or for other reasons.

(compiled from wire reports)
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