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YANUKOVICH STANDS NO CHANCE AT ELECTION RERUN
MOSCOW, Dec 6 (RIA Novosti) - The Ukrainian Supreme Court canceled the results of the presidential election and decided to rerun the second round on December 26. Viktor Yanukovich, the candidate of the authorities, will have to grapple again with opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko.
President Leonid Kuchma had suggested holding a new election and said jointly with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that a re-run of the second round would not be legal, writes Vedomosti.
Mr. Yanukovich has a slim chance of winning on December 26, say observers. According to opinion polls, public support for Mr. Yushchenko has grown to 56%, said Alexei Grazhdankin, deputy head of the Levada Center research company.
"He can win only if Mr. Kuchma reviews his decision to surrender and stops restraining him," thinks Gleb Pavlovsky, president of the Russian Effective Policy Foundation, who cooperated with Mr. Yanukovich's allies during the election.
Mr. Yanukovich believes that he must go to the election and win, said his press secretary Anna German. He might make new public statements after his team works out a new strategy for him, said Ukrainian political scientist Dmitry Vydrin.
A Yushchenko victory would complicate Kiev-Moscow relations because Moscow supported Mr. Yanukovich. Alexei Makarkin, deputy general director of the Center of Political Technologies, predicts that it would put into question the involvement of Ukraine in "the common economic space" with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan and the future of the Russian naval base in Sevastopol.
None of Mr. Putin's team will take responsibility for the failure of the Russian policy in Ukraine, say observers. Mr. Makarkin said that the blame would be most probably put on Russian oligarchs, "who will be punished for supporting Yushchenko and for not giving Yanukovich enough assistance."