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Ukrainian Presidential Candidates Trade Accusations

3 November 2004 -- The campaign teams of the two main rivals in Ukraine's presidential race today exchanged accusations of vote fraud in the 31 October election.

With about 97 percent of votes counted, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych maintained a slight lead with 39.88 percent and opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko had 39.22 percent of the vote.

The Yushchenko campaign team said today it would demand a recount of results. Yushchenko spokeswoman Irina Herashchenko said they were demanding the Central Election Commission "confirm every single figure from every single electoral district and polling station."

The Yanukovych campaign team said 15 to 20 percent of the votes coming from the western areas of Ukraine were falsified to favor Yushchenko. Ihor Skirya from Yanukovych's Regions of Ukraine party said members of the election commissions in those western regions loyal to Yushchenko cast votes at polling stations instead of voters.

A runoff election is scheduled for 21 November.


[For full coverage of Ukraine's presidential elections, see RFE/RL's Ukraine web page.]