Premier Says Fraud Tainted Ukraine Vote

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, apparently narrowly beaten in last week's presidential vote, ended six days of silence on a defiant note Saturday, saying the vote had been rigged and she would challenge the result in court.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Preliminary results from the Feb. 7 ballot gave her rival, opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych, a lead of just 3.5 percentage points. International observers called the elections free and fair, but no official winner has been declared, and Tymoshenko has refused to concede defeat.

She said Saturday she had evidence of fraud and would fight the result, for which the final count is to be announced on Wednesday.

"I have made the only decision I can make — to challenge the results in court," Tymoshenko said in the five-minute televised appeal to the public. "Not going to the courts today would mean leaving Ukraine to criminals without a fight."

She asked Ukrainians to support her legal battle to overturn the elections, but urged them not to take to the streets in protest as demonstrations would destabilize the country.

"Ukraine now needs stability and calm like never before," she said.

Her appeal late Saturday appeared to confirm analyst expectations that she is digging in for a standoff with Yanukovych that could delay the transfer of power.

She said more than 1 million votes had been falsified or miscounted, naming the Russian-speaking Crimean peninsula, a Yanukovych stronghold, as the site of "shocking" irregularities.

She also claimed that several observers from the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, or OSCE, had agreed to support her legal challenge with "video evidence" in courts.

Officially, however, the OSCE has declared the elections "professional, transparent and honest" in a joint statement with other international observers.

The monitors' praise of the election conduct will likely hurt Tymoshenko's chances of mounting a successful court challenge.

Source: AP


wesley rodgers said…
The point of Yulia Tymoshenko challenging the voter actually is a valid one from the standpoint that the voting proceedure in some ways was changed just days before the election

Kind of like changing the rules of the SUPBOWL the same week it is to be played and she may actually have a major complaint here not just with Ukraine officials but the officials who oversaw the election.
They could have said we are not monitoring an election where some already elected officials have changed how the election is going to be conducted.
The vote itself--intrinsically was I believe, a straight vote BUT the deck of cards that was used were changed very close to the election and that is known as " unethiucal."
..The problem that TYmoshenko has now even if she can prove that very salient point is---Is she winning or losing more with the people.
..I mean sometimes even when we are right it may be best to leave some things unchanged but I do see where she is coming from and am surprised that the election commission let those changes go thru just days before the vote...She has devoted a lot of her life to the political scene in Ukraine and I think she should challenge but it is just will most of the voting populace understand what she is cahllenging and why..Ans Presidsent Yuschenko, of all people should have stayed out of it....Kind of like jury tampering....I hope things can be worked out becsause by now many countries are really--rea;lly wondering what is going on in the Ukraine.....I hope it can be resolved judiciously..
SINCERELY Wes Rodgers Den and HELLO NIC HOLAS..I hope you are well down there in goood old Odessa one of my favorite towqns.,..THANK YOU for your fine work!!