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Yushchenko, Yanukovych Winding Up Campaign

23 December 2004 -- Ukraine's two presidential candidates continued to stump for votes yesterday as the repeat of last month's discredited presidential runoff approaches.

Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko warned his supporters that the 26 December repeat presidential runoff will be no "easy walk," and has urged them to turn out at the polls to secure his victory.

"Everyone must come out [to the polls] so that the result is totally convincing, so that there is no temptation to cheat or disrupt the ballot," Yushchenko said.

Speaking to thousands of supporters yesterday evening in Kyiv's Independence Square, Yushchenko said the opposition and their street rallies had changed Ukraine without shedding blood.

But he warned there are "forces" -- whom he did not name -- who are still prepared to disrupt the revote.

Yushchenko urged his backers to return to the streets after the upcoming vote.

At a rally in Kirovograd, southeast of Kyiv, Yushchenko's rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, denounced Yushchenko for leading what he called an "orange coup" -- a reference to the orange colors used by the opposition.

"I want you to know that those people who come out to vote for the 'orange coup' in this election are voting against the Ukrainian people," Yanukovych said. "They are acting against those who should be the real owners of Ukrainian land."

Yanukovych -- who was declared the winner of the original 21 November runoff before the result was thrown out due to electoral fraud -- has already warned he considers the repeat election to be unfair.


For more RFE/RL coverage and analysis of the political crisis in Ukraine, click here.