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Kuchma Suggests Yanukovych Should Not Run

Prague, 6 December 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Ukraine's outgoing President Leonid Kuchma is quoted as suggesting that Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych should not run in the 26 December presidential revote.

In a "The New York Times" interview published today, Kuchma acknowledged that Yanukovych -- whom Kuchma had selected to be his successor -- has indicated he plans to run in the upcoming repeat of the disputed 21 November presidential runoff.

But Kuchma said that if he were Yanukovych, he would not run.

Kuchma said he cannot exclude that opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko may end up running unopposed.

In such a situation, according to the newspaper, Yushchenko would still be required to win 50 percent of the vote to take the presidency.

In the interview, Kuchma accused the Supreme Court of making a "political" decision in its 3 December ruling that set the stage for the repeat runoff. But Kuchma said that he, like Yanukovych, will honor the decision.

Kuchma also repeated accusations that Yushchenko has broken pledges to back constitutional changes in parliament before the new vote.

[To see an archive of RFE/RL's full coverage and analysis since the Ukrainian crisis began, click here.]

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