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Early Results Point to Stalemate in Ukraine

<i> Associated Press</i>

A strengthened Communist Party will lead the way in a new Ukrainian parliament crowded with foes of President Leonid D. Kuchma, preliminary election results indicated Tuesday.

The Communists tapped into widespread economic discontent in the former Soviet republic. Other leftists and more moderate opponents of the president also made gains in the parliament, known as the Verkhovna Rada.

The preliminary count of Sunday’s vote suggested that the standoff that has defined Ukrainian politics and hampered economic progress could drag on or deepen as next year’s presidential election approaches.

Kuchma shrugged off the results, saying the new parliament will be “no worse than the old one.” He stressed that “under no circumstances will the foreign policy of Ukraine change.”

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