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Blockade of Government Buildings in Ukraine Ends

Ukraine's opposition has ended a blockade of government buildings, hours after parliament adopted a series of electoral reforms and outgoing President Leonid Kuchma signed them into law.

The move allows many government employees to return to work for the first time in weeks.

Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko Wednesday thanked his supporters for their continuous protests following last month's fraudulent runoff vote. He told the cheering crowd their 17 days of peaceful protests helped bring about the new laws.

The measures, proposed by the opposition, are aimed at preventing fraud in the December 26 repeat of the flawed election. Also included are constitutional changes that transfer some presidential powers to parliament.

But presidential rival, pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, called the parliamentary vote illegal. He said the new laws will do nothing to stop election fraud.