Monday, February 15, 2010

Yanukovych Officially Declared Winner; Tymoshenko Vows To Fight

Kyiv Feb 13 (RFE/RL) Ukraine's Central Election Commission has officially declared Viktor Yanukovych the winner of the presidential election held on February 7, but Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is claiming fraud and has pledged to take the case to court. The election commission today confirmed the results that showed Yanukovych beating Tymoshenko by a 3.48 percent margin, or some 888,000 votes. The announcement comes three days ahead of the deadline for releasing the final official results of the vote. The announcement came after Tymoshenko said she plans to challenge the official result in court in a televised statement late on February 13. "Today I can firmly tell you that Ukraine's elections were falsified, and this is not a political declaration but a clear legal assessment by lawyers," Tymoshenko said. Tymoshenko's supporters are now expected to lodge an official appeal against the results and present evidence of fraud to a Kyiv high court. Reports say the court is expected to take several days to consider the evidence presented. The prime minister claimed more than 1 million votes had been falsified or miscounted, and she named the Crimean peninsula -- a Yanukovych stronghold -- as the site of "shocking" irregularities. International monitors described the election as “an impressive display of democracy.” The European Union, the United States, and NATO leaders have congratulated Yanukovych. But Tymoshenko said Yanukovych “will never become the legitimately elected president of Ukraine." However, she pledged not to call out her supporters for mass protests like those of the 2004 Orange Revolution.


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