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Update: Tymoshenko says Ukraine vote was rigged

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Feb. 14, 2010, 9:27 a.m. |

Entertainers in traditional Ukrainian costumes dance for a mass rally in support of opposition leader and presidential candidate Victor Yanukovych on a stage set up outside the Central Election Commission in Kyiv on Feb. 10.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko — apparently defeated by a narrow margin in last week's presidential vote — ended six days of silence by saying the election had been rigged and she would challenge the result in court. Her statement seemed to confirm analyst expectations that she is digging in for a political standoff with her rival, Viktor Yanukovych, that could delay the transfer of power.

Preliminary results from the Feb. 7 ballot gave opposition leader Yanukovych a lead of just 3.5 percentage points. International observers called the election free and fair, but no winner has been officially declared, and Tymoshenko has refused to concede defeat.

She said Saturday she had evidence of fraud and would fight the result, for which the final count is to be announced on Wednesday.

"I have made the only decision I can make — to challenge the results in court," said Tymoshenko, appearing stoical and resolute during the five-minute televised appeal to the public. "Not going to the courts today would mean leaving Ukraine to criminals without a fight."

She asked Ukrainians to support her legal battle to overturn the elections, but urged them not to take to the streets in protest as demonstrations would destabilize the country.

Responding to Tymoshenko's appeal, the deputy chairwoman of Yanukovych's Party of Regions said the legal challenge has no hope of success.

"She just wants to push us into a negotiation so that we will give her something. But we don't negotiate about democracy," Anna German told The Associated Press. "This challenge only hurts the country's ability to begin reforms and deal with the financial crisis."

Tymoshenko helped lead the 2004 mass street protests against Yanukovych's election victory that year. Dubbed the Orange Revolution, those demonstrations on Kiev's central square, the Maidan, urged the Supreme Court to overturn Yanukovych's victory and call for a revote, which Tymoshenko's ally, Viktor Yushchenko, won by a narrow margin.

Yanukovych's team expected Tymoshenko to organize similar rallies in the streets this month, and thousands of his supporters have been gathered for days around the Central Election Commission to forestall such a move. But Tymoshenko said Saturday she would limit her fight to the nation's courts.

"I will not gather people on the Maidan, and will not allow a public showdown between citizens. Ukraine now needs stability and calm like never before," she said.

Tymoshenko claimed more than 1 million votes had been falsified or miscounted, and she named the Russian-speaking Crimean peninsula — a Yanukovych stronghold — as the site of "shocking" irregularities.

The Central Election Commission said that, on Saturday alone, it had received 60 complaints from Tymoshenko's staff challenging the legality of the vote in numerous districts.

"I want to make it clear. Yanukovych is not our president, and he will never become the legitimately elected president," she said.

Tymoshenko also claimed in her appeal that several observers from the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, or OSCE, had agreed to support her legal challenge with "video evidence" in courts.

Officially, however, the OSCE has declared the elections "professional, transparent and honest" in a joint statement with other international observers.

Responding to Tymoshenko's claims, OSCE spokesman Jens-Hagen Eschenbaecher said he was not aware of any individual monitors' breaking ranks with the mission to support Tymoshenko.

"Officially, the mission will not support any of the candidates in court," Eschenbaecher told the AP late Saturday, saying it is every candidate's right to mount legal challenges to the results. "This is part of the process."

The monitors' praise of the election conduct will likely hurt Tymoshenko's chances of mounting a successful court challenge.

Analysts said, however, that her legal complaints could discredit Yanukovych as he tries to consolidate power and repair the economy, which is still reeling from last year's steep recession.

"Challenging the results in court and delaying the final count will badly weaken Yanukovych," political analyst Oleksiy Haran said. "Yulia is trying to chip away at his mandate and his legitimacy in any way she can."
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Anonymous Feb. 14, 2010, 9:56 a.m.    

I find it ironic that Tymuchenko is spitting in the face of the US president..

The last time this happened, Manuel Noriega did it.

Where is he now?

In jail.

The US is still a scaringly powerfull bunch, and Julia has it coming, if she thinks her hot air inflated image can save her from the obvious..

The fact is, her partner is already in US jail for money laundering, and Yulia is walking a broken line wth her attitude, that can unleash a US action.

Yulia knows she is in trouble, that is why she got in high wire politics..

Difference is now, nether Russia nor the West needs her.

No great power to defend her.

She had played Russia against the West, now the West and Russia is playing with her.

The Georgian war, that was the cause for the rift between Russia and the US, was a brainchild of Tymuchenko, to get back at Russia for dumping her and havng her jailed in Ukraine, and she also wanted to punsh the Americans for stealing her stolen millions she had deposited in US and Swiss banks.

Now Russia and the US are seeking friendly ties, and Tymuchenko is looked at as the cause of their peril.

Tymuchenko thinks she will bring every one down by contesting the election, but she will only achieve for the world powers to get the gloves of in dealing with her once and for all.

Let us admit to it,,, she deserves a bit of that.... before she goes out to oblivion...

A short lady with elephant ears, who caused Russia to turn on the US...

Yulia thought all men are stupid, she treated men as inferiors, including her former Prime Minister and partner with whom they had embazzeled the people of Ukraine, billions of dollars, Yuschenka on him she glued herself onto and sucked his political fortunes out of as a leech a parasite, her party members etc.

Now Julia is a sinking trash can,

She scares to let go of power, for fear she will loses immunity for persicution for money laundering and embezzelment.so now Julia wants to throw Ukraine to a chaos, where every one is against every one, like she did in the war in Georgia, which she financed and she supported.

Julia claims to be jewish, and perhaps that will answer the question why there were thousands of Israeli mercinaries in Georgia, killing innocent Russinas in Abkhasia..

Now even Israel wants to distance herself from their agent, Julia, who wrecked havoc on the Ukrainian economy while getting America and Russia into a fght against one another...

Now Julia wants the same distruction in Ukraine,, she cares nothing of the damage she causes, she has billions in foreign account..

At worst, she will move to Israel, and get protection and some of her money from the Israeli governement...

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Anonymous Feb. 14, 2010, 11:44 a.m.    

you discredit your chance of debate with you bile..

you need to turn off your PC and go and see how the rest of nashi are doing in the efforts

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Anonymous Feb. 14, 2010, 1:22 p.m.    

Intelligent post. Yulia does the Berlusconi trick. It was: either straight to prison or reinvest the stolen money into politics.. the redo laws and threaten judges to lose their jobs.

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Anonymous Feb. 14, 2010, 1:23 p.m.    

A typical statement by a plank (sorry yank but about as much understanding and education as a plank)the country that lived the high life and expects the rest of the world to pay for it...Yulia is frightened of the power of Yanukovych and his russian alliances so she should be anyone who had witnessed the brutal regime of the soviets in Ukraine should be aware of this....try watching &quot;The Soviet Story&quot; she does not cause Russia to turn on the USA,, it manages this all of its own...believing its self the only superpower left in the world....if the person was aware so much of Ukrianian politics they would realise that what ever good was attempted for the people of Ukraine was always stopped with power and money deals within the government. Any action attempted that was against the big businesses keeping and almost serfdom regime in Ukraine was thwarted with bribes and threats...or tied up in countless battles and arguements....As to the conflict in Georgia,,,get your facts correct before commenting on it,,,the Hostilities where started by the Georgeian military against ex russian who had settled in Georgia during the soviet era,,,,when russia responded to stop Genocide,,,,the backing from the USA and France dwindled...Yes Yulia supported the Georgians when the Russians attacked in force,,,but do you or anyone have proof of finacing a conflict against Russian citizens that settled there,,,when armaments and military staff are trained and supplied by the USA ? As to embezlement of funds,,,,there was a case brought against Yulia but no conviction,,Unlike Yanukovych who was sentenced not once but twice.

In my conclusion the USA is now worried of Russia and sells the Ukraine down the River,,,for so called better realtions with Russia.....

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Anonymous Feb. 14, 2010, 6:05 p.m.    

&quot;anyone who had witnessed the brutal regime of the soviets in Ukraine should be aware of this....try watching &quot;The Soviet Story&quot;

Ask Irakis about the US regime.

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Anonymous Feb. 14, 2010, 1:16 p.m.    

It reminds me so much of what happened in America in 2000. Just like the democratic process in America, Ukraine's new leader will be more than likely decided in court not by the people. It's so tragic that Ukraine's top people are more interested in squabbling for the most power than doing anything constructive with it once they have it. And just like the Bush fiasco, they'll bend and manipulate the country to suit there own agenda. Tymoshenko had a massive and unique chance to prove to Ukraine and the world in 2004 that she could work towards creating a better future in Ukraine and she monumentally blew it. After that she proved that she could never run the country and she doesn't deserve to. She would have been better off, graciously conceding defeat and moving to the opposition and working from there, at least that would spare her some much needed credibility amongst the generally public

But with Yanukovych's dubious past and all that was dodgy about 2004 elections, I hardly consider him a ideal candidate either. They have a country to mend but that probably won't happen until someone comes, from the next generation, with real aspirations to bring the country forward. The sad fact is that those people are few and far between.

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Anonymous Feb. 14, 2010, 11:10 p.m.    

People from the next generation may be worse. Look at US. A lots of smart people, but one-trick-ponnies. They know their statistics, and their metrics, but do not see beyond their noses. These are the ones that brought about the financial crisis. The best and the brightest, served the self-interest and the interests of the corporation, expect bonuses for their fake profits, and bonuses on top of bonus, based on the &quot;profits&quot; on taxpayer bailout. Common sense is not their strenghth, but the ability to enrich themselves and loss of any inerest in the country --- is what they are proud off. Yulia is just ahead of her time. Me, me, me and me. That is her political platform.

Spit as you wish on Yanukovic, he has the backing of some money elite, and that cannot be just thrown off. He is following Europan energy issues, and he shared the sentiment of European experts that Ukraine now has a competion for distribution of energy. The way to deal with it, is to modenize its own infrastructure, and to join ventures accross Europe, so that the investments would pay for future modernization.

Yulia almost had a heart attack hearing him advocate entry into Nord Stream Consortium. OBVIOUSLY, she is not understanding the issue, and if she does not understand something this fundamental, how on earth could she fend off bankers as they devoured everything the country earns.

She is obviously trying to negotiate some form of immunity from Yanukovic, as Yuschenko will certainly not give it to her. She has destroyed his ability to govern, so it is payback time. I can easily see Yuschenko supporting Yanukovic, and getting some concessions that he is interested in, then him trying to ever come to any terms with Yulia.

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Anonymous Feb. 15, 2010, 10:14 a.m.    

KARMA ! WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND !

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Anonymous Feb. 15, 2010, 5:42 a.m.    

Many people feel that Al Gore should have raised more of an issue with the election results and not just given up. If he had prolonged the investigation (which he could have) then perhaps Bush wouldn't have been the president.....IMAGINE IF BUSH WASN'T PRESIDENT HOW DIFFERENT OUR WORLD WOULD BE!

I say - Yulia, if you need to investigate and if you find there is justifiable cause then go for it.

Ukraine is at a crossroads and keeping Yanukovych out of power is reason enough to do this.

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Anonymous Feb. 14, 2010, 9:41 p.m.    

Yulya just cannot afford to be out of Parliament. Forget the rubbish about stolen votes or whatever. Once she's out of power,she can be out of parliament or new legislation introduced which would uncover her past.

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Anonymous Feb. 14, 2010, 10:55 p.m.    

this is precisly what Yulias dummy spit is all about - Yulia negotiating immunity from Yanu because she knows Yush wont give it

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Anonymous Feb. 15, 2010, 11:02 a.m.    

Tymoshenko says Ukraine vote was rigged, of course it was rigged, by her buying votes, and now it has back fired. Yula and the orange revolution have had five years to sort Ukraine out, and what have they done apart from filling their pockets NOTHING. Bye Bye Yula

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