Yanukovich official winner

KIEV: Ukraine’s Central Election Commission today said opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich has won the presidential election according to the final official count.

Today’s announcement comes three days ahead of the February 17 deadline for releasing the final official results of the vote. It deals a major blow to Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s effort to overturn the results of the February 7 vote before they are made official. A preliminary count of the votes showed Yanukovich defeating Tymoshenko by 3.5 percentage points after last Sunday’s ballot.

Tymoshenko said in a televised appeal to the public yesterday that the vote was rigged and vowed to challenge the results.