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OUR UKRAINE LEADER CONTINUES TO LEAD PRESIDENTIAL RACE. According to a poll held by the Democratic Initiatives fund and the SOCIS center from 1-4 September, 31 percent of respondents intend to vote for opposition Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko and 24 percent for Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in the 31 October presidential elections, Interfax reported on 7 September. Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko is supported by 7 percent of voters and Socialist Party head Oleksandr Moroz by 6.5 percent. The pollsters found that in a hypothetical runoff, Yushchenko would be supported by 40 percent of voters and Yanukovych by 33 percent. The same poll also revealed that 12 percent of respondents believe the elections will be absolutely honest; 32 percent think that isolated violations will not affect the final results; 25 percent believe that there will be significant violations affecting the final results; and 18 percent think that everything will be distorted. JM
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPEALS FOR FAIR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The Verkhovna Rada on 7 September adopted an appeal to government agencies, local government, companies, institutions, and organizations, asking them "to use every means to promote citizens' conscious choice and uninhibited expression of their civic position" in the 31 October presidential elections, UNIAN reported. The appeal says government agencies must create equal opportunities for candidates to conduct their campaign and rule out any "bias and groundless interference in the election process." The parliament also adopted an appeal to journalists and media executives, urging them to ensure unbiased coverage of the campaign and prevent "the distortion of facts and use of manipulation techniques." JM