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Tymoshenko contests election results in court

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-02-16

Defeated presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko has filed a court complaint contesting last week's election results. Tymoshenko, who lost to Viktor Yanukovych by 3.5 percent, claims the vote was fixed.

AFP - Defeated Ukraine presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko on Tuesday launched a legal challenge to elections won by her rival Viktor Yanukovych, even as parliament set a date for his swearing-in.
   
Tymoshenko, surrounded by a media scrum, appeared at the supreme administrative court in person to file a complaint demanding that the declaration of the final results be quashed.
   
She and her supporters carried several boxes which a statement on her website said contained evidence, including video recordings and photographs, that the February 7 election was fraudulent.
   
"We are sure that there were systemic, fundamental and general falsifications of the elections in the second round," Tymoshenko said as she filed the complaint, the Interfax news agency reported.
   
Yanukovych defeated Tymoshenko by a narrow margin of around 3.5 percent or just under 890,000 votes in the election, according to complete official results published on Sunday.
   
International observers have described the elections as fair and democratic and Western governments have joined Russia in congratulating Yanukovych on his victory.
   
Tymoshenko has said observers from the transatlantic security group the OSCE were willing to testify in court about vote fraud, which she alleges amounted to one million votes.
   
However the head of the OSCE short-term election observers during the election, Joao Soares, Monday denied his group had any information or evidence of any fraud in the election.
   
Her complaint came as Ukraine's parliament on Tuesday set February 25 as the date for Yanukovych's inauguration after a vote boycotted by the Tymoshenko bloc in parliament.
   
The vote passed after 238 deputies voted in favour, just over the minimum of 226 required.
   
Yanukovych's election victory marked a remarkable comeback for a politician whose last bid for the presidency was derailed by the 2004 Orange Revolution, which brought a pro-Western government to power in Kiev.
   
In 2004 he was initially declared the winner of disputed presidential polls but, following mass streets against vote-rigging, the courts overturned his victory and ordered a new election which he lost.
   
Since then Ukraine's euphoria over the Orange Revolution has faded as its government was paralysed by internal squabbling and the country was badly hit by the global economic crisis.
   
The gross domestic product contracted by around 15 percent in 2009, the Ukrainian economy ministry said on Tuesday.
   
The hero of the Orange Revolution, outgoing President Viktor Yushchenko, was unceremoniously chucked out of office in the first-round of the presidential election last month in which he received less than six percent of the vote.
   
Yushchenko warned on Tuesday that Yanukovych's pro-Russian policies would lead to "destabilisation", singling out the issue of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, which is based in Ukraine's port of Sevastopol.
   
Russia has the right to keep the fleet in Sevastopol under a lease that expires in 2017.
   
Yushchenko has sought to expel the military fleet after that date, whereas Yanukovych has promised to seek a deal with Russia.
   
Yanukovych -- a native of Ukraine's industrial, Russian-speaking east -- has long been seen as a pro-Kremlin politician in this country of 46 million people that borders both Russia and the European Union.
   
He is set to become Ukraine's fourth president since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
   
Last week Yanukovych vowed that ties with Russia would be a "priority" of his presidency after they deteriorated badly under the pro-Western Yushchenko.

Date created : 2010-02-16

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