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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid