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Yanukovych wins Ukraine election
Kiev, Feb 10 (AGENCIES)
Published on 11 Feb. 2010 12:08 AM IST
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The pro-Russia Viktor Yanukovych has won Ukraine’s presidential election by a margin of 3.48 percent, preliminary results from all the polling stations said Wednesday. With votes from 100 percent of the polling stations now counted, Yanukovych won 48.95 percent of the vote, compared to Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s 45.47 percent, the central election commission said. Another 4.36 percent of ballots were cast “against all” in a sign of the disillusionment five years after the Orange Revolution. Some 1.19 percent of ballots were spoiled. Though official and comprehensive, these results must still be double-checked and formally certified by the election commission, a process which may take some weeks. The tally from the Central Election Commission from Sunday’s runoff showed Yanukovych holding 48.95 percent of the vote, and Tymoshenko claiming 45.47 percent. Nearly seven in 10 registered voters showed up at the polls. Yanukovych’s supporters rallied outside the commission Tuesday and vowed not to leave until their candidate was named the winner, Ukrainian news agencies and state media reported. In an exclusive interview with CNN on Tuesday, Yanukovych called on Tymoshenko to accept defeat and remember the pro-Western Orange Revolution that swept her to power. “This country has been democratic for five years, and that’s been proven again by this election,” he said. “Yulia Tymoshenko is betraying the principles of her Orange Revolution” by failing to acknowledge defeat. A Yanukovych win would put the finishing touches on a remarkable comeback for the former prime minister five years after he was ousted in a populist uprising. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated Yanukovich by telephone Tuesday, the Kremlin said. “Medvedev congratulated Yanukovych on the completion of the election campaign, which was highly rated by international observers, and the success achieved at the presidential election,” a Kremlin statement news statement said. Appearing on television after the polls closed Sunday night, Yanukovych said his opponent should begin preparations to step down. But officials from Tymoshenko’s party said Tuesday that she has evidence of election fraud and intends to demand a recount in some districts. The two politicians have fought a bitter battle. Yanukovych has strong links to Russia, and a checkered election history. In 2004, he was declared the winner of the presidential election before the ballot’s legitimacy was questioned and he was accused of stealing the race. “The country remembers times when there were presidents announced, they received congratulations, and then things changed,” Tymoshenko said Sunday, referring to the 2004 race. A pro-Western uprising, known as the Orange Revolution, followed. Yanukovich’s win was annulled, and current President Victor Yushchenko won the re-vote. Yushchenko ran for a second term this year, but, blamed for Ukraine’s faltering economy, he did not make the runoff. This year’s elections, by contrast to those in 2004, got a clean bill of health from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which sent observers. The OSCE hailed the process as “professional, transparent and honest,” saying it should “serve as a solid foundation for a peaceful transition of power.”

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