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Ukraine's opposition keeps up protests ahead of poll announcement

Ukraine's opposition keeps up protests ahead of poll announcement
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Opposition supporters in Ukraine are continuing a third day of protests in the capital Kiev, demanding their candidate be declared the winner of Sunday’s presidential election. The central electoral commission is expected to announce final results during a meeting this afternoon. The opposition has refused to recognise incomplete results, which showed prime minister Viktor Yanukovich winning Sunday’s run-off vote.

International observers said the poll was seriously flawed. Yushchenko said electoral fraud had robbed him of three million votes. Yesterday he took a symbolic presidential oath of office in front of his allies in an emergency session of parliament.

Outgoing president Leonid Kuchma has called for negotiations involving all sides. But an aide to Viktor Yushchenko said he would not be meeting his rival or his representatives. Around 150 Ukrainian diplomats around the world have reportedly come out in support of Viktor Yushchenko, while municipal authorities in the eastern city of Donetsk have stated their support for Viktor Yanukovich.

Opposition demonstrations in Kiev’s Independence Square, in which people of all ages have worn orange clothes and waved orange banners, have so far been peaceful. About 1,500 Yanukovich supporters set up a rival protest near the Dynamo Kiev football stadium.

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