News / Europe

Controversy Surrounds Planned Ukrainian Presidential Inauguration

Eleven heads of state and other foreign dignitaries are expected to attend Thursday's inauguration of Viktor Yanukovych as the fourth president of independent Ukraine.  But his defeated opponent, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, refuses to recognize Mr. Yanukovych as the country's legitimate leader and continues to rally opposition to him in parliament.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko says invitations for the Yanukovych inauguration have been sent to more than 100 delegations.  He says 11 heads of state, four heads of influential international organizations, and at least 15 foreign ministers have confirmed their participation.    

Defeated presidential contender and current Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has denounced Mr. Yanukovych's victory as fraudulent, referring Monday to the president-elect as a pawn of oligarchs who will establish an anti-Ukrainian, anti-European dictatorship.  

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, she called for the current coalition in parliament to stand firm and expressed doubt Mr. Yanukovych's Regions Party has enough support for a vote of no confidence in her government.

Ms. Tymoshenko says she is convinced coalition leaders will under no circumstances betray their ideologies and convictions and will not enter into a coalition with the Regions Party.

The party's deputy head, Hanna Herman, told Ukraine's Channel Five television network that a motion will be filed in parliament next week to dismiss the Tymoshenko government.  Herman says a new government and prime minister will be appointed after the motion passes.

The Regions Party has issued a statement saying Ms. Tymoshenko's national television address Monday demonstrated she has not even the slightest understanding of democracy.  The party statement claims her persistent opposition to Mr. Yanukovych is undermining faith in the electoral process, international election monitors, and the courts.  

International election monitors denied Ms. Tymoshenko's claim of systemic vote fraud and election-night exit polls were consistent with results announced by the Central Election Commission that indicate Mr. Yanukovych won by nearly 900,000 votes.  She also withdrew a legal suit challenging the results, saying the court was prejudiced against her.  

Meanwhile, an announcement by Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church to conduct a prayer service in Kyiv as part of Mr. Yanukovych's inauguration has brought church politics into the ceremony.  

The Russian Church has millions of members in Ukraine, where official reference to Russia is dropped.  Instead, it is called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, though it differs from its Russian counterpart in name only.  Mr. Yanukovych is a member.  But millions in the rival Kyiv Patriarchate and also Ukraine's Greek Catholic Church do not recognize Kirill and regard his presence as meddling in Ukrainian internal affairs.

Independent political analyst Vitaliy Bala told VOA that Kirill's decision to bless Mr. Yanukovych's presidency is a highly sensitive issue in Ukraine.

Bala says this could be a strategic mistake on the part of the Church.  Tactically, he says it will try to gain a short-term advantage, but strategically, the move will is likely to mobilize Yanukovych opponents.  He notes Mr. Yanukovych won with a plurality of votes and was strongly opposed in regions associated with non-Russian churches.

Analysts say the president-elect's apparent choice of Brussels, not Moscow, as his first foreign destination as president may signal he wants closer relations with Europe and will not draw as close to Russia as many expect.

The first two presidents of independent Ukraine, Kravchuk and Kuchma, were both named Leonid.  Mr. Yanukovych will be the second Viktor, following Viktor Yushchenko, who lost his bid for re-election with less than six-percent support of the voters.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More