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Monday, December 27, 2004

The New York Times > International > Europe > Pro-West Leader Appears to Win Ukraine Election

The New York Times > International > Europe > Pro-West Leader Appears to Win Ukraine Election: "The New York Times
December 27, 2004
Pro-West Leader Appears to Win Ukraine Election

KIEV, Ukraine, Monday, Dec. 27 - Viktor A. Yushchenko, the opposition leader, appeared headed for a resounding victory early Monday in a riveting presidential race marked by intrigue, charges of poisoning, fervent street demonstrations and widespread abuses of state power.

There were no independent reports of the egregious election violations that had discredited the previous round of voting. Mr. Yushchenko, addressing supporters at this headquarters, predicted an end at last to an extended and bitter election season.

'It has happened,' said Mr. Yushchenko, his face still disfigured from dioxin poisoning this fall for which he has blamed his adversaries in the government. 'Today we are turning a page of lies, censorship and violence.' Ahead, he said, lay a 'new epoch of a new great democracy.'

With 74 percent of the votes from the Sunday election counted, Mr. Yushchenko was leading Prime Minister Viktor F. Yanukovich by 55 percent to 40 percent, according to the Central Election Commission. The early results placed him within the range predicted by surveys of voters exiting the polls, which gave the opposition a 15- to 20-point lead.

Displays of fireworks lighted up Independence Square, where tens of thousands of Mr. Yushchenko's supporters turned out once more, as they had for more than two weeks in late November and early December to protest the government fraud that discredited the last vote. The Orange Revolution, as Mr. Yushchenko's supporters have taken to calling their peaceful resistance, appeared to be nearing its end.

The election was the second head-to-head contest between Mr. Yushchenko and Mr. Yanukovich, who once had been the handpicked successor to departing President"

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