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Ukraine's Yushchenko Thanks Cheering Supporters For Massive Rallies - 2004-12-09


Ukrainian opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko has thanked tens of thousands of his supporters for their continuous protests following last month's flawed run-off vote.

Mr. Yushchenko told the cheering crowd in Kiev that their 17 days of peaceful demonstrations have led Ukraine to realize it is a European nation.

He said their efforts, after the disputed November 21st presidential run-off election, helped lead to the changes in electoral law adopted today (Wednesday).

His supporters waved flags and banners. Fireworks followed his speech.

Hours earlier, parliament overwhelmingly adopted a series of electoral reforms, and outgoing President Leonid Kuchma signed them into law.

The measures, proposed by the opposition, are aimed at preventing fraud in the December 26th re-vote of the flawed election.

Also included are constitutional changes that transfer some presidential powers to parliament.

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych is the government-backed candidate in the election.

The government-backed candidate Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leader Yushchenko will face off in the upcoming election.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.

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