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Ukraine-s presidential rivals accused each other of corruption and electoral fraud in a live television debate last night
Ukraine-s presidential rivals accused each other of corruption and electoral fraud in a live television debate last night, setting the stage for another dramatic showdown in their repeat run-off on December 26. Viktor Yushchenko, the opposition leader, accused Viktor Yanukovych, the Prime Minister, of rigging the results of the November 21 election, which were later annulled amid huge opposition protests. Viktor Yanukovych said the protests ? dubbed the Orange Revolution ? amounted to a coup, but appeared to offer an olive branch by appealing for calm and suggesting that the two men run the country together, wrote The Times. As they traded accusations, Yanukovych tried to be more conciliatory. "Whoever wins, I think, we should hold a forum of national accord," Yanukovych said, urging Yushchenko to pledge not to contest the official results of the Dec. 26 rerun vote. "If you win, I will recognize (your victory). If I win - you will," Yanukovych said. "And then, you and I are working to form a normal government of national concord." The debate was the first since the Supreme Court annulled the Nov. 21 presidential run-off following allegations of widespread fraud, says CBC News. According to the Bloomberg, millions of people throughout the country took to the streets to protest after Ukraine's Central Electoral Committee said Yanukovych beat Yushchenko in a Nov. 21 runoff vote. The Supreme Court canceled that election on Dec. 3 and ordered a new vote, saying the process was riddled with fraud. Yushchenko fell ill after dinner with top officials at Ukraine's State Security Service on Sept. 5. His face has been disfigured since then. A total of 47.5 percent of those questioned said Yushchenko has a "better chance" of winning the Dec. 26 vote, while 27.4 percent said Yanukovych is more likely to win that ballot, an opinion poll by the Kiev-Ukraine based Razumkov Center for Economic and Political Studies showed
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