Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ukrainian Court Validates Election Results, Opens Way For Government Formation

KIEV, Ukraine -- A Ukrainian court on Thursday validated the results of parliamentary elections, opening the way for the formation of a government in this ex-Soviet republic that is struggling to emerge from prolonged political turmoil.

Team Orange, Yushchenko (L) and Tymoshenko (R), has been given a second chance to fix what ails Ukraine.

The move was likely to be welcomed by the two pro-Western Orange Revolution parties led by President Viktor Yushchenko and the charismatic opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.

The two forces have garnered enough seats in the Sep. 30 election to form a parliamentary majority and have pledged to jointly form the Cabinet with Tymoshenko returning as prime minister.

Their main rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych emerged as the top vote winner, but fell short of their combined total.

Ukraine's High Administrative Court threw out a law suit filed by five parties seeking to contest the vote based on alleged violations, allowing the official publication of the election results and enabling the new parliament to convene. A judge was shown reading out a statement on Channel 5 television.

Court officials could not be reached for comment late Thursday.

Yushchenko's and Tymoshenko's parties won 228 seats in the 450-member Verkhovna Rada, two seats more than a bare majority.

The Party of Regions, led by the more Moscow-friendly Yanukovych, had only 175 seats.

An informal agreement concluded by Yushchenko's and Tymoshenko's parties last week and endorsed by the president stipulates that Tymoshenko would be prime minister while Yushchenko's bloc would pick the parliament speaker.

A majority coalition can be officially formed once parliament convenes. The legislature has about a month to convene after the official publication of the election results.

The Interfax news agency quoted Central Election Commission member Zhanna Usenko-Chernaya as saying that the final results will be published Saturday.

No date has been set yet for the first Rada session.

Tymoshenko's return as premier would resurrect the Orange Revolution alliance that was the driving force of the peaceful 2004 protests that ushered Yushchenko into the presidency but which collapsed when Yushchenko fired Tymoshenko after just seven months as his premier.

This time around, Yushchenko and Tymoshenko have promised to work closely together to bring the country on a solid pro-Western course, conduct anti-corruption reform and raise living standards.

Ukrainian politics have been riven by a bitter power struggle between Yushchenko and Yanukovych since the tumultuous 2004 presidential race.

Yanukovych was initially declared the winner, but courts later judged that vote fraudulent and Yushchenko won a repeat election. Their standoff reached its peak earlier this year, when Yushchenko ordered parliament dissolved and called a new vote.

Source: International Herald Tribune

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