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Early Results in Ukraine Give Yushchenko Large Lead - 2004-12-27


The first official results in Ukraine give opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko a large lead in Sunday's court-ordered repeat of the presidential election runoff.

With 11 percent of the vote counted, the pro-western Yushchenko leads Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych 61 to 35 percent.

Earlier, three separate exit polls gave Mr. Yushchenko a 15 percent lead.

Yushchenko supporters are already crowding central Kiev claiming victory, waving banners, and chanting their candidate's name.

The pro-Russian Yanukovych said after the polls closed that he still expects to win, but promises to form a tough opposition if he loses.

Ukrainian officials put voter turnout at 75 percent and report no voting irregularities.

More than 12 thousand international election monitors watched the balloting.

Ukraine's Supreme Court ordered Sunday's re-vote after throwing out Mr. Yanukovych's November 21st election win because of massive fraud.

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