Another Ukraine election appeal fails

Ukraine’s Supreme Court on Monday turned down four appeals of last month’s presidential election results filed by Viktor Yanukovych, the former prime minister who preliminary results show lost to a Western-leaning reformer, a court official said.

It was the latest in a series of moves by Yanukovych’s campaign to overturn the December 26 election won by Viktor Yushchenko.

That vote was a court-ordered rerun of the November 21 ballot, which was annulled after allegations that massive fraud had given Yanukovych the victory.

The court rejected the appeals because they were “improperly formed”, said court official Lyana Shlaposhnikova. She did not elaborate.

“Yanukovych will submit more complaints,” she said.

Also on Monday, the Central Election Commission rejected two Yanukovych minor complaints about campaign violations because they were filed long after the deadline.

Yanukovych stepped down as prime minister after last month’s election, but has not conceded defeat and is vowing to pursue all possible avenues to challenge the revote’s results.

Yushchenko has not been declared the official winner. The elections commission was expected to announce official final results later on Monday, commission official Ruslan Knyazevych was quoted as saying by the Itar-Tass news agency.

That would pave the way for Yushchenko to take office.

Yanukovych’s camp is preparing a 500-volume complaint to the Supreme Court that “would prove massive election fraud in the rerun”, said Yanukovych campaign manager Taras Chornovyl.

“Our complaint will be the mirror image of Yushchenko’s appeal and it would prove that the establishment of vote results is impossible due to fraud,” Chornovyl said.

He claimed, however, that Yushchenko’s allies in the Central Election Commission will try to “speed up” the announcement of final election results before Yanukovych’s lawyers have time to submit their complaints.

Chornovyl also threatened that angry Yanukovych supporters from his stronghold eastern Donetsk region could pour into Kiev to protest an elections commission declaration of Yushchenko as the winner.

“We will not turn to violent actions but we are hearing about radical moves from Donetsk. We will not be able to control the people,” he said.

After the November 21 election, masses of Yushchenko supporters—numbering sometimes well more than 100 000—jammed downtown Kiev to protest the results, their complaints bolstered by international elections monitors’ sharp criticism of the voting.

A tent camp set up by the Yushchenko supporters remains on Kiev’s central avenue, although the number of demonstrators has fallen sharply. Core supporters say they will remain on the streets until Yushchenko is inaugurated.

Yushchenko is widely expected to work for closer integration of the Ukraine with Nato and the European Union.

Yanukovych was seen as likely to bring Ukraine closer into Russia’s sphere of influence, and Russian President Vladimir Putin had spoken strongly in support of him—statements that were criticised as interference in the elections.—Sapa-AP



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