CNN.com - Observers: Poll abuse in Ukraine - Nov 22, 2004

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- With nearly all ballots counted, Ukraine's prime minister retained his narrow lead Monday in the bitterly contested presidential election, which Western observers said was marred by irregularities and fraud, and the reformist opposition leader called for mass protests.

The Ukrainian Elections Commission said Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych had 49.42 percent to Viktor Yushchenko's 46.70 percent, with 99.38 percent of precincts counted.

Earlier partial results showed Yanukovych less than one percentage point ahead.

But an exit poll, conducted under a Western-funded program, gave Yushchenko 54 percent of the vote to Yanukovych's 43 percent.

Another poll put Yushchenko ahead by 49.4 to 45.9 percent, the Interfax news agency reported."


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