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Tensions rise ahead of Ukraine presidential vote

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Tensions rise ahead of Ukraine presidential vote
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Ukraine’s Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yanukovich head into a final clash for the presidency on
Sunday, but the prospect of post-election unrest threatens any quick return to stability.

Throughout the campaign the pair have traded insults and accused each other of planning electoral fraud; if the margin of victory is slender on either side, the other camp seems certain to challenge the result.

Although Yanukovich’s Regions Party has pushed though parliament changes to electoral rules, his supporters are staging a sleep-in around the Central Election Commission, in order, they say, to protect the election’s integrity.

The outcome is too close to close for many polls.

Victory for Tymoshenko could boost Ukraine’s efforts to continue forging closer ties with Europe, while a decisive result for Yanukovich could reset the country’s relations with Russia, which have plummeted under the pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko.