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WEBSITE SKEPTICAL ABOUT UKRAINIAN ELECTION RESULTS. Results of the first round of the presidential election in Ukraine might be disappointing for the pro-Moscow candidate and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, pravda.ru wrote on 1 November. Despite having administrative resources at his disposal, Yanukovych not only failed to defeat opposition challenger Viktor Yushchenko in one round, but even failed to beat him convincingly, pravda.ru reported. According to a pravda.ru correspondent in Kyiv, this failure is explained by the sluggish work of Yanukovych's electoral staff and Yushchenko's ingenious and aggressive campaigning. Meanwhile, journalist Sergei Dorenko told Ekho Moskvy on 1 November that Moscow sent to Kyiv a large group of television journalists to help cover Yanukovych's campaign. The television team was charged with finessing Yanukovych's media campaign, in case Ukrainian journalists were "disloyal," Dorenko added. VY
EUROPEAN MONITORS SAY UKRAINIAN VOTE DID NOT MEET DEMOCRATIC STANDARDS. The International Election Observation Mission, which included some 600 observers from the OSCE, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, said in a statement posted on the OSCE website (http://www.osce.org) on 1 November that the 31 October presidential ballot in Ukraine did not meet a "considerable number" of OSCE, Council of Europe, and other European standards for democratic elections. According to the mission, the presidential elections were tainted by bias in the state media, interference by the state administration in favor of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, the disruption or obstruction of opposition campaign events by the state authorities, and inadequacies in the Central Election Commission's handling of complaints. "This election process constitutes a step backward from the 2002 [parliamentary] elections," said Bruce George, president emeritus of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and Special coordinator for the short-term observers. "Although we are grateful to the Ukrainian authorities for their cooperation during our mission, we regret that they did not create equal campaign conditions," said Ambassador Geert-Hinrich Ahrens, head of the OSCE's long-term observation mission. JM
UKRAINIAN ELECTION CHIEF ACKNOWLEDGES EXTENSIVE ERRORS ON VOTER LISTS. Central Electoral Commission head Serhiy Kivalov said on Ukrainian Television on 1 November that there were widespread irregularities regarding electoral registers in the 31 October presidential poll. "There are citizens who have appealed to courts, territorial commissions, the Central Electoral Commission, [and] district commissions," Kivalov said. "Some had their problems solved and were entered on the register, while others remained outside and were denied their constitutional right [to vote]." Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko wrote in the "Financial Times" on 3 November that "millions of opposition supporters" were denied the opportunity to vote on 31 October or were too poor to defend their right in court. Supreme Court Deputy Chairman Anatoliy Yarema said on 1 November that Ukrainian courts have examined some 42,500 complaints linked to the right of citizens to take part in voting in the 31 October ballot. According to Yarema, this number of electoral complaints was unprecedented for Ukraine. JM
WHO WON UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL BALLOT? The Central Election Commission has not yet finished counting votes in the 31 October presidential ballot, Ukrainian news agencies reported on 3 November. With 97.67 percent of the ballots counted, the commission said on 2 November that Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych won 39.88 percent of the vote, while main rival Viktor Yushchenko obtained 39.22 percent, meaning that there will be a runoff between them on 21 November. It is not clear when the final results of the 31 October vote will be announced. The Central Election Commission is legally obliged to do this within 10 days following polling day. Meanwhile, some 5,000 students demonstrated in Kyiv on 2 November, protesting what they allege were falsified results from the 31 October vote. "An all-out falsification of election returns is going on," Yushchenko's campaign manager, Oleksandr Zinchenko, told the rally. According to Zinchenko, the Central Elections Commission has stopped announcing elections returns "since it has realized that no report will be in favor of the authorities." JM