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Ukrainian Parliament Declares Sunday's Presidential Election Invalid


Ukraine's parliament has declared the disputed presidential election vote invalid. The non-binding resolution, adopted in emergency session Saturday, comes amid increased calls for new elections.

Ukraine's parliament approved a resolution declaring that the runoff presidential election was invalid and failed to reflect the intention of voters. It also passed a vote of no confidence in the Central Election Commission, which declared Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych the winner of the November 21 election.

The speaker of parliament, Volodymyr Lytvyn, opened the session, saying the best option to end the political crisis would be to hold a new election. He said a new vote is needed in light of the numerous allegations of fraud that marred the presidential runoff vote last Sunday.

Some European Union officials are also saying holding new elections would be the right course of action.

Tens-of-thousands of demonstrators backing western-leaning challenger Viktor Yushchenko have been protesting in Kiev and other cities.

Meanwhile, officials from the two political camps were also expected to meet, one day after the two rival candidates failed to resolve the crisis in a roundtable meeting with various European mediators.

Mr. Yushchenko says he was cheated out of victory by massive fraud. The reports of widespread irregularities led much of the international community to reject the official results. Ukraine's Supreme Court is to hold a hearing Monday on the opposition's claim the elections were rigged.

Only China, Russia and some other former Soviet republics back the official count.

Russia's position on a possible new vote isn't clear. But on Friday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared that certain Western nations were trying to draw a new borderline through Ukraine by supporting the opposition.

Russia openly backed Mr. Yanukovych during the election campaign, and President Vladimir Putin was quick to congratulate him on what he called his decisive victory, before official results were even announced.

Moscow is angered by what it sees as Western meddling in the affairs of a country that has long been firmly in Russia's sphere of influence.

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