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Parties Make Final Push On Last Day Of Ukraine Campaigning

  • RFE/RL

Supporters of the pro-presidential Party of Regions listen to Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov speak as they attend a preelection rally in Kyiv on October 26.

Supporters of the pro-presidential Party of Regions listen to Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov speak as they attend a preelection rally in Kyiv on October 26.

Ukraine's opposition and the party of President Viktor Yanukovych have made a final push for votes on the last day of campaigning before the country's parliamentary polls on October 28.

Campaigning is banned on October 27 and both opposition forces and the ruling party held rallies filled with famous pop singers late on October 26 aimed at still undecided voters.

The race pits the ruling Party of Regions against an opposition coalition led by controversially jailed ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko and the opposition Udar party of world heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, plus other contestants.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on October 26 that Ukraine welcomed international election observers arriving to watch the polling. But he charged that not all election observers were fair-minded.

The overwhelming majority of observers who arrived are objective, and we welcome them," Azarov said. "But there are a few observers who would wish very much for the Party of the Regions to lose the election."

Test For Democracy

Opposition parliamentary candidate Vasyl Hatsko told Reuters he believed the Ukrainian parliamentary vote could be manipulated.

"We are ready for everything because we know who we are dealing with in this country -- with Yanukovych and the Party of Regions," Hatsko said.

"That's why we understand that what happened in 2004 and earlier can happen again, when the authorities beat up activists, prevent them from campaigning, and do it in order to get a constitutional majority in the parliament."

The EU warned on October 26 that the upcoming parliamentary elections in Ukraine will be a test of the country's democracy.

Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton, said the EU urged "clear and full transparency" in the voting process.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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