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Yushchenko Demands New Election In Ukraine

Viktor Yushchenko (file photo) Kyiv, 27 November 2004 -- Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko has demanded a new election to settle the crisis over the disputed presidential runoff vote in Ukraine.

Yushchenko told supporters in Kyiv's Independence Square late last night that he believed a new election should be held on 12 December.

"We are sure that any deals about forming a government, any deal on sharing posts in government, any deals on political reform, will not resolve the political crisis which we face today," he said. "Because this crisis has come about through falsification of elections. That is why the answer has to come in the shape of a new vote. There is no other way."

Yushchenko spoke of unspecified action if the crisis is not settled within days. He urged his supporters to continue their mass protests to overturn the official result of the 21 November runoff.

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych has been declared the winner of the vote by electoral authorities, but he cannot be inaugurated until after a Supreme Court hearing next week of an appeal by the Yushchenko campaign. Another member of the Central Election Commission withdrew her signature from the final official results. Only 10 of the 15 members of the commission are now validating the results with their signature.

Earlier yesterday, talks between Yushchenko, Yanukovych, outgoing President Leonid Kuchma and Russian and European envoys failed to resolve the stalemate.

Kuchma and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said all sides have agreed to avoid violence in settling the dispute.