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Ukrainian PM Leads Vote Tally

22 November 2004 (NCA) -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych holds a slim lead over opposition challenger Viktor Yushchenko in Ukraine's presidential runoff, according to early returns from the balloting.

With 75 percent of the vote counted, Yanukovych led Yushchenko by a margin of 0.93 percentage points with 48.65 percent of the vote to Yushchenko's 47.72 percent.

Yushchenko, who met with election officials overnight, accused authorities of electoral fraud and called on his supporters to demonstrate on Independence Square today.

Yushchenko led all exit polls last night by margins ranging from 2 percentage points to 19 percentage points.

Serhiy Kivalov, head of the Ukrainian Central Election Commission (CEC), this morning denied that the actual count was slanted in either candidate's favor but conceded that both candidates would likely appeal, alleging tainted regional results contributed to the overall count.