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Ukrainian Commission Advises Late-December Runoff --> The Yushchenko and Yanukovych camps should meet again on 26 December 4 December 2004 -- Ukraine's Central Election Commission today set 26 December as the date for a repeat of the runoff presidential election after the Supreme Court annulled the country's disputed poll and ordered new voting.

The parliament, which met today to start preparing the legal framework for the repeat vote, still must endorse the decision. It must then be signed into effect by outgoing President Leonid Kuchma.

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych announced through a spokeswoman today that he will stand in the repeat runoff vote. The spokeswoman, Anna Herman, said Yanukovych will participate in the election although he considers the ruling to be in violation of the constitution.

"Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said today that he respects the ruling of the Supreme Court even though he believes it was made under extreme political pressure, which is in violation of the constitution. However, he believes there is no other way but to stand [in a fresh vote] and win."

In a response to an appeal by opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the 21 November election was fraudulent and threw out the official results, which had declared Yanukovych the winner.

The Central Election Commission came under intense criticism after it verified the results of the November runoff, prompting opposition leaders to demand that the 15 members of the commission be replaced.


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