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THE WORLD | IN BRIEF / UKRAINE

3 Parties Neck and Neck in Early Vote Count

April 01, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

Ukraine's Communist Party, allies of President Leonid D. Kuchma and a pro-Western opposition leader jockeyed today for the lead in parliamentary elections, according to preliminary results.

Sunday's vote was seen as a gauge of Kuchma's popularity after eight years of leading the nation. The final outcome was seen hinging on whether voters stuck with Kuchma's controversy-shadowed but stable leadership or opted for reform.

With 11% of the vote counted, the Communist Party had 19.6%. The pro-presidential For United Ukraine and the reformist Our Ukraine bloc of ex-Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko each had 19%, according to the Election Commission.

The official tally differed starkly from exit polls that indicated a much weaker showing for the pro-presidential party and had buoyed the opposition.

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