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Ukraine's Supreme Court Rejects Yanukovych's Appeal

Ukraine's Supreme Court Thursday rejected an appeal by the losing presidential candidate, Viktor Yanukovych, who claimed the results of the December 26 run-off election were tainted by fraud.

Three justices of Ukraine's highest court deliberated a little more than two hours Thursday behind closed doors before they issued their unanimous ruling.

In rejecting Mr. Yanukovych's appeal, the court let stand the Central Election Commission's (CEC) earlier decision not to review the results of the presidential run-off for lack of convincing evidence.

Chief Presiding Justice Andrey Hnatenko says the justices found no basis for Mr. Yanukovych's claim that the electoral commission acted improperly in throwing out his challenge.

Mr. Hnantenko says the ruling is final and can not be appealed.

Even before the court decision was handed down, Mr. Yanukovych had said he had little faith in Ukraine's high court. But he insisted he will exhaust all available legal avenues to challenge the results of the poll, which gave his rival, Victor Yushchenko, and a comfortable victory.

Mr. Yushchenko's legal team has dismissed the appeals by Mr. Yanukovych as a ploy to prevent their candidate from taking office.

Mr. Yanukovych is expected to file one more appeal once the official results of the election have been published.

The deputy chairwoman of the Election Commission, Marina Stavnichyuk, says the results will most likely be announced early next week, following Friday's Orthodox Christmas holiday.

Mr. Yushchenko, who was poisoned during the presidential campaign and suffered potentially lasting injuries, spent the holidays in the Carpathian mountains with his wife and children, and is expected to return to Kiev Thursday.