Accessibility links

Yushchenko Renews Call for Government Blockade

The apparent winner of Ukraine's presidential run-off election, Viktor Yushchenko, said Tuesday the struggle to bring democracy to the country is not over and urged his supporters to renew a government blockade to prevent his rival from convening a government meeting.

One day after official results show him winning the presidency, Mr. Yushchenko told a public gathering in the city's central square that from this day forward Ukraine will be democratic, European and free.

It was not a victory speech, as final official results have yet to be published. His rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, has said he would not concede defeat and, instead, challenge the results of Sunday's election in the Supreme Court.

He also reportedly called a meeting Wednesday of the cabinet, which lost a parliamentary no-confidence vote earlier this month. Normally, a no-confidence vote would result in the government's dismissal, but outgoing President Leonid Kuchma has still to sign the order.

Mr. Yushchenko said the scheduled meeting is illegal, and called on his supporters to mass outside the ministry in large numbers.

Mr. Yushchenko says it is not possible for a government that has been dismissed to say it does not want to go.

He said the Ukrainian people's dreams of democracy have come true.

Mr. Yushchenko says Ukraine is changing hour by hour. He says central among the changes is that President Kuchma's government will soon be gone. He also notes recent political changes, such as the firing of Ukraine's Prosecutor-General, as well as a new election law and Constitutional changes, resulting from an earlier political compromise with the government.

He told his supporters on Independence Square to reinforce their blockade of the government building to prevent the government from meeting and called on them to return on New Year's Eve and for his inauguration at an unspecified date.