Tymoshenko to challenge Ukraine vote

KIEV: Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has refused to concede the presidential race to opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich and plans to legally challenge the results, Ukrainian and Russian media reported today.

Tymoshenko told officials with her party that she will “never recognise” the legitimacy of the election, the respected Ukrainskaya Pravda Web site and Russia’s ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

The reports said Tymoshenko has instructed lawyers to mount a legal challenge and plans

to demand a third round

of voting.

Yanukovich is leading

in Sunday’s runoff vote by

3.2 per cent with almost

all the ballots counted. Unlike past elections in Ukraine, international monitors have praised this vote as being free and fair.

Tymoshenko’s campaign declined to comment on the reports, but her allies said they were getting ready to challenge the result.

“A decision has been taken to challenge results in the individual polling stations and to demand a recount at those stations,” said Yelena Shustik, a deputy with the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc in parliament. Yanukovich’s Party of Regions has rejected calls for further scrutiny of the election.

“There will be no third round,” Mykola Azarov, deputy head of the Party of Regions, told parliament on Tuesday. “They are dragging us into an unnecessary war.” On Tuesday evening, Yanukovich is due to address thousands of his supporters, who have assembled

outside the headquarters of the Central Election Commission in Kiev. Yanukovich’s team say it organised the meeting to defend the results of the election.