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Ukraine president backs new poll
November 29, 2004
Ukraine's outgoing President Leonid Kuchma has suggested staging a new poll to end the crisis over the disputed presidential election.

"If we really want to preserve peace... let us have new elections," he said.

His comments came as Ukraine's Supreme Court considered claims of massive fraud in the 21 November poll.

Pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych was declared the winner of the poll, but opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko filed an appeal.

Speaking after an urgent meeting with governors from Ukraine's eastern and southern regions, Mr Kuchma said the country needed a "legitimate president".

Referendum threats

Mr Yanukovych's supporters in eastern and southern Ukraine have warned they will hold a referendum on regional autonomy if he is not elected.

The Supreme Court has said it will not issue any ruling on Monday.

Last week, the court suspended the official results, which saw Mr Yanukovych declared the winner with 49.46% of the vote to Mr Yushchenko's 46.61%.

Mr Yanukovych said on Monday he would accept a partial re-vote in his eastern strongholds if claims of massive fraud were proven.

Supporters of both Mr Yushchenko and Mr Yanukovych are continuing to hold protest rallies to back their candidate.


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