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Thousands In Kyiv Back Former PM's Presidential Bid

4 July2004 -- Tens of thousands of people have rallied in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv to support the presidential campaign of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko.

Yushchenko, a former prime minister, today formally registered as a candidate for presidential elections in October. In a speech to supporters, he accused current president Leonid Kuchma of "corruption, arrogance, and irresponsibility."

An ally of Kuchma's, current prime minister Viktor Yanukovych, also formally announced his candidacy today for the presidency. He told supporters his goal will be to eliminate poverty, increase salaries and pensions, and reform the country's military.

Communist and Socialist leaders also announced they will join the race.