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EU Calls For Improvements In Ukrainian Election

2 November 2004 -- The European Union has called on Ukrainian authorities to correct electoral deficiencies ahead of the second round of the country's presidential election.

In a statement issued by the Dutch government, the current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, the EU warned that the conduct of the second round of voting will indicate Ukraine's commitment to democratic values and hold "great significance" for EU-Ukraine relations.

European observers and the United States have criticized the first round of voting on 31 October as falling well short of democratic standards.

Complaints of widespread vote fraud are expected to be discussed today in Ukraine's parliament.

Nearly complete results of the vote show Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, an advocate of tighter ties to Russia, with about 40 percent of the vote. Western-leaning opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko has about 39 percent.

The two men are set for a second-round runoff on 21 November.