AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Byline: Alex Rodriguez
KIEV, Ukraine _ Faced with the prospect of breakaway regions and a burgeoning financial crisis, outgoing President Leonid Kuchma signaled a willingness Monday to acquiesce to opposition demands for a new presidential election, a move that even Ukraine's disputed presidential victor was willing to accept in two key eastern provinces.
"If we really want to preserve peace and accord, and if we really want to build up the democratic society we talk about so much, let's organize new elections," Kuchma said.
The statement represented a major retreat by Kuchma, who zealously backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych as the winner in the hotly disputed Nov. 21 presidential runoff, an election that opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, international observers and Western governments say was marred by widespread election fraud.
He made the remarks after speaking by telephone with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who urged the Ukrainian leader to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, one that abides by Ukraine's constitution. Powell also urged Kuchma to maintain Ukraine's territorial integrity in the face …