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Chechen Electoral Official Says 70 Percent Voters Supported Yeltsin

Grozny, July 4 (RFE/RL) -- The Chairman of Chechnya's Electoral Commission says preliminary results show that some 70 percent of Chechen voters supported president Boris Yeltsin in the presidential runoff. Abdul-Karim Arsakhanov told Itar-Tass that ballot-counting in Chechnya is so far incomplete, as it did not take place last night.

Chechen separatist leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev said he is hoping for changes in Moscow's policy towards Chechnya, following yesterday's election. Yandarbiyev said he hopes the on going negotiating process in Chechnya will take into account the will of Chechens for independence.

And in a telephone interview with RFE/RL last night, Yandarbiyev said Russian Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed views the issue of Chechen independence more realistically than other Russian politicians.

Turnout among Russian troops in the breakaway republic was reported to have reached some 98 percent. Voting did not take place in the southern Vedeno region which is under control of Chechen separatists.

However, Western news agencies have reported widespread irregularities during the two days of voting in Chechnya.