Thousands rally against ‘poll fraud’ in Ukraine
KIEV - Agence France-PresseThousands of Ukrainians massed in central Kiev yesterday to protest against alleged fraud in parliamentary elections won by the ruling party as the opposition threatened not to recognize the new legislature.
At least 2,000 opposition supporters carrying Ukrainian flags gathered outside the headquarters of the central election commission amid a heavy presence of elite Berkut anti-riot police.
Political tensions have surged in Ukraine as the authorities have still failed to publish final results from the Oct. 28 elections. Commentators expect the ruling Regions Party of President Viktor Yanukovych to take a wafer-thin majority in the new Verkhovna Rada despite a strong challenge from the opposition led by jailed former premier Yulia Tymoshenko.
Tymoshenko’s Fatherland party said it was “ready to declare” the new Rada invalid unless the authorities “stopped the falsification of the electoral process”. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the leader of the Fatherland in the absence of the Tymoshenko, accused the Regions Party of “stealing the votes of Ukrainians and changing the results in favour of its candidates.”