News / Europe

Ukraine Prime Minister Withdraws Election Complaint

Anya Ardayeva

Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a losing candidate in the recent presidential election, has withdrawn her legal challenge from the court where she went to claim that voting results were rigged.  The decision clears the way for opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych to become the president of Ukraine.

According to the original claim by Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, more than one million votes in the February 7th poll were falsified or miscounted. Ms. Tymoshenko lost the election to opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych by 3.5 percentage points.

Until recently, Ms. Tymoshenko refused to accept defeat, claiming the election was marred by "systemic, fundamental and general falsifications". She brought stacks of documents to Ukraine's Administrative Court earlier in the week, but then suddenly dropped her legal challenge, saying the court was not interested in giving her justice. "I have recalled my appeal and asked the court to stop this action, which has nothing to do with justice," she said.

The court had suspended the election result following Ms. Tymoshenko's appeal but then accepted the withdrawal. Now Mr. Yanukovych will be inaugurated on February 25th.

Yulia Tymoshenko led the 2004 Orange Revolution, which occurred after the 2004 presidential election and lead to a court's overturning Victor Yanukovych's presidential election victory due to voting violations. A re-run of the election was won by her ally, Viktor Yushchenko.

Unlike past elections in Ukraine, international observers said the 2010 election was free and fair.

Viktor Yanukovych said he will not work with Yulia Tymoshenko as Prime Minister and she so far refused to step down. Ukraine's economy has suffered a dramatic fall following a global financial downturn. This year's budget is still to be approved and the bail-out program from the Inernational Monetary Fund has been suspended until the country's political turmoul ends.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev spoke to Viktor Yanukovych by phone and congratulated him on his "complete and final, legitimate and internationally recognized victory in Ukraine's presidential election".  Mr Yanukovych is expected to visit Moscow in early March.

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