Ukraine PM withdraws election complaint

KIEV: Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko today dropped her legal challenge to her rival’s presidential election victory, saying she had lost faith in the country’s courts.

Her dramatic backdown after a pledge just the day before to fight till the end was the latest twist in Tymoshenko’s tortuous struggle to hold on to power and sent rivals and observers guessing what her next move will be.

“It has become obvious that it is not a court and it is not justice,” said the flamboyant premier, wearing a grey dress, her trademark golden braid wrapped around her head.

“We are withdrawing our suit,” Tymoshenko told the court as it reconvened to hear her case.

International observers have approved the vote as fair and democratic and Ukraine’s parliament — where her rival Viktor Yanukovych’s Regions Party is the largest bloc — has already set his inauguration for February 25.

But the fiery premier had presented the court with nine volumes of evidence as proceedings began yesterday, seeking to repeat the success of 2004 when courts overturned Yanukovych’s victory and ordered a new poll which he lost.

The premier had called for the court proceedings to be televised, a request the authorities denied.

Yesterday she wore a funereal black dress in the court as she appealed for justice in an emotional hour-long speech.