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MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti) - An intrigue will persist till the last moment of the current elections of the US president, director of the Institute of the USA and Canada Sergei Rogov told RIA Novosti.

The Russian expert, commenting on the course of the election campaign, noted that in this election year the three rounds of TV debates held between candidate from the Republican party George Bush and Democratic candidate John Kerry may play the decisive role in the outcome of the poll in the USA. In general, the personal meetings of the candidates not often seriously influence the results of the elections. In the expert's opinion, since the debates between Kennedy and Nixon in 1960 the candidates' direct confrontation did not exert decisive influence.

Mr. Rogov recalled that after the Republican party's convention George Bush began to outstrip his opponent by far, and the gap between them on most questions made up 8-10% of the vote by the end of September. Forerunners of the Democrats' debacle appeared but the debates changed the situation. Bush staged a very poor performance while Kerry was very strong in the first round of the debates. The second and third rounds were more equal, though it is believed that Kerry had small advantage every time.

The situation leveled on the threshold of the election. Some polls show Kerry's lead by 1-2%, while others give the lead to Bush. The director of the Institute stated that "the outcome of the poll in the USA will not be clear till last moment." He explained this by the existence of a two-tier election system in the USA. "At the previous election Bush lost 500,000 votes to Gore but the latter lost to Bush in the number of electors from the states owing to the archaic US system of presidential elections. Today Bush's situation with the number of electors from the states looks not bad, better than in 2000. For this reason, the intrigue will exist till the night of the election. Repetition of the scandal with the count of votes won by the candidates which occurred in 2000 should not be ruled out, too," Sergei Rogov said in conclusion.