Ukrainian court suspends results of Ukraine’s presidential election pending decision on appeal

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ukrainian election results suspended on appeal

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s presidential election results giving victory to Russia-friendly Viktor Yanukovych were suspended Wednesday pending review of his rival’s appeal.

Ukraine’s Administrative Court said it would rule on Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s appeal by Feb. 25, when lawmakers had planned to inaugurate Yanukovych.

Until that ruling, the court said, it was suspending the Central Election Commission’s declaration that Yanukovych had won the Feb. 7 vote by just 3.5 percentage points was suspended.

Tymoshenko has refused to concede, claiming the election was tainted by fraud.

On Tuesday, she delivered what she said was evidence to the court, and urged a full re-count of the vote.

She asked her supporters, however, not to hold street demonstrations — as they did in what became known as the 2004 Orange Revolution. Those mass protests lead to a court’s overturning Yanukovych’s presidential election victory that year and ordering a rerun, which was won by Tymoshenko ally Viktor Yushchenko.

International observers have deemed Ukraine’s latest election free and fair, dealing a blow to Tymoshenko chances of mounting a successful court challenge. President Barack Obama and other leaders have already congratulated Yanukovych.

Viktor Nebozhenko, the head of the respected Ukrainian Barometer polling agency, predicted that the court will rule against Tymoshenko’s appeal because many judges on the court support Yanukovych.

“Tymoshenko knows quite well that she has little chance of winning, but she will use the proceedings to make strong accusations,” he said. “Tymoshenko’s key goal is now to stay in the prime minister’s seat. She has nothing to lose and is ready to offer promises and jobs.”

Another Kiev-based political analyst, Vadim Karasyov, said that Tymoshenko’s defiance will likely force Yanukovych to call early elections to attempt to win control over parliament, which appoints the prime minister.

“If Yanukovych fails to muster a majority to force Tymoshenko out, he has a choice of being a weak president under the strong prime minister, or risk early parliamentary elections,” Karasyov said.

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