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Rally Against Ukraine Vote Swells

The senior Western diplomat said there was increasing evidence that the military and the country's security service would not agree to use force, leaving only Interior Ministry troops or the police. The loyalties of both groups are in question, particularly in Kiev and western Ukraine, Yushchenko strongholds. "You have a government which, to my opinion, doesn't know what to do," said the diplomat.

"They may have been stupid enough to think that obvious, outright fraud would somehow persuade the international community . . . that this was a legitimate election," the diplomat said.

An estimated 200,000 demonstrators gather to protest alleged fraud in the presidential election in the main square of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. (Efrem Lukatsky -- AP)

_____Election Protests_____
Photo Gallery: Thousands of Ukrainians take to the streets to protest the country's election results.
Audio: The Post's Peter Finn From Kiev
Video: Protesters Voice Discontent
Video: Rally Held at Embassy in D.C.
_____More Coverage_____
Ukrainian Election Denounced (The Washington Post, Nov 24, 2004)
For the U.S., a Balancing Act on Ukraine (The Washington Post, Nov 24, 2004)
Tension Rises Over Ukraine Vote (The Washington Post, Nov 25, 2004)

An adviser to the Yanukovych campaign who spoke on condition of anonymity said he expected his candidate to be certified as the winner by the Central Elections Commission on Wednesday. In a statement Tuesday evening, Yanukovych's campaign manager appeared to be preparing the way for such a move when he called on Yushchenko to concede.

"Mr. Yushchenko must help unite the country now that it is apparent that Viktor Yanukovych is Ukraine's president-elect," said Sergei Tyhypko.

Within the Yushchenko camp, some of his chief supporters argue for using the assembled crowds to seize key facilities, including the state television building. But so far, the protesters have limited themselves largely to noisy gatherings in public places.

There were clear signs that Yushchenko's organizers hope to maintain the protests for as long as possible despite the hardship of the severe cold. Mobile food kitchens and generators to run heaters have been moved onto Independence Square, where supporters have pitched tents and announced their intention to remain round-the-clock.

Yushchenko and key advisers have been meeting nightly to map out the next day's strategy, according to Gayday, who has attended the meetings.

On Tuesday, Yushchenko led supporters on a march to the parliament building and then went inside, leaving the crowd outside. Some legislators tried to put forth a vote of no confidence in the Central Elections Commission, but the session was boycotted by lawmakers who support Yanukovych. A quorum could not be reached.

Yushchenko took an oath of office, his hand on a copy of the constitution, as supporters shouted: "Bravo, Mr. President!"

Some of the protesters outside attempted to burst into the building. But they were coaxed back by lawmakers supporting Yushchenko, evidence that the campaign has not yet decided to use force.

The role of the Communist Party in parliamentary maneuvering remains critical and uncertain. Its leader did not endorse any candidate in the second round of voting despite pressure from Russia to back Yanukovych. But if it sides with Yushchenko, there would be enough votes to demand a review of the election and the 11,000 violations that the Yushchenko campaign claims to have documented.

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