Tymoshenko defiant, uncertainty looms

KIEV: Ukraine grappled with fresh political instability today as Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s

party refused to acknowledge her defeat in presidential elections, citing alleged violations.

Three days after

pro-Russia candidate Viktor Yanukovich beat

Tymoshenko by a margin of some 3.5 per cent,

she has yet to concede defeat and her party has called for a partial recount of the votes.

With political tensions riding high, thousands of Yanukovich supporters

today rallied for the third day in a row outside

the headquarters of the elections commission with the aim of ensuring the results stood.

Tymoshenko has disappeared from public view since making a short comment on exit polls released just after Sunday’s vote, with aides repeatedly announcing and then cancelling news conferences.

It was unclear when the usually talkative prime minister, famed for

her golden hair braid, would reappear.

Adding to the confusion, a deputy from her Bloc

Yulia Tymoshenko party (BYuT) said Tymoshenko could make a statement

today or tomorrow,

recognising the results of the elections.

“I can predict it will

be an announcement acknowledging the legitimacy of the election results and her move to the opposition,” said Member of Parliament Sviatoslav Olyinyk, according to the Interfax new agency.

However Tymoshenko aides told AFP there was

no news on when she would break her silence. The BYuT is reported to be split on the issue, with a faction seeking to persuade her to concede.

Another BYuT deputy, Sergiy Vlasenko, said the party would ask for a recount in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, and the Crimea peninsula, all Yanukovich strongholds where he polled extremely well.

The conduct of Sunday’s vote received ringing endorsements from Western observers and governments who characterized it as free, fair and in line with democratic standards.

The popular news website Ukrainska Pravda compared Tymoshenko’s never-say-die defiance to the sword-wielding Uma Thurman character of the Bride in Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 film “Kill Bill”.

“By not accepting defeat, Tymoshenko is choosing the logic of the heroine from the film ‘Kill Bill’ who must fulfil a vendetta in any possible way,” wrote one of the site’s best-known contributors, Sergiy Leshchenko.

With votes from 100

percent of the polling stations now counted, Yanukovich won 48.95 per cent of the vote, compared to Tymoshenko’s 45.47 per cent, the central election commission said.