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Election challenge in Ukraine rejected

Fri., Dec. 31, 2004

KIEV, Ukraine – Election officials on Thursday rejected Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s voluminous challenge to results showing he lost this week’s presidential revote, saying he did not prove any widespread violations.

Yanukovych’s campaign team vowed to take their legal fight for the presidency to Ukraine’s Supreme Court even as reformer Viktor Yushchenko mapped out plans for his inauguration and first 100 days in office.

“The vote has changed the country and it changed us,” Yushchenko told Ukrainians in a New Year’s greeting issued four days after the former Soviet republic’s third presidential balloting in two months.

The revote was ordered by the high court after it annulled a Nov. 21 runoff election, ruling the results that gave victory to Yanukovych were tainted by fraud. Sunday’s redo resulted in a solid win for Yushchenko, according to preliminary results. Final results can only be announced after all appeals are exhausted.

Yanukovych submitted a 27-volume complaint to the commission, including claims that at least 4.8 million people – mainly disabled and sick – were deprived of their right to vote by election reforms introduced after the first runoff. It also alleged there were problems with voter lists, not enough ballots were printed and people illegally campaigned on election day.

The 15-member Central Election Commission unanimously rejected the complaint.


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