Ukraine’s Court Says New Runoff Should Be Held by Dec. 26

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The Supreme Court declared the results of Ukraine’s disputed presidential run-off election invalid and ruled Friday that the run-off should be repeated by Dec. 26, bringing cheers from tens of thousands of opposition supported massed in Kiev’s main square.

The ruling, made after five days of hearings by the court’s 18 justices, was a major victory for opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, who had rejected the government’s demands that an entirely new election be held.

The opposition had pinned its hopes on the court’s ruling in its bid to overturn the results of the Nov. 21 run-off vote in which Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych was declared the winner. The opposition said the vote was rigged to cheat Yushchenko of victory.

Outgoing President Leonid Kuchma had been pressing for an entirely new election, apparently in hopes of replacing Yanukovych with a stronger candidate.

UPDATE: (Tobias, 18:29 CET) – The Kyiv Post has some more information

Tens of thousands of opposition protesters who had massed in central Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) in anticipation of the decision cheered, waving blue-and-yellow Ukrainian and orange Yushchenko flags and chanting “Yushchenko! Yushchenko!” The crackle of fireworks could be heard in the distance.

In related news, Maidan reports that outgoing President Kuchma vetoed the recently passed law invalidating “absentee ballots” for the re-run. These ballots allowed Ukrainians to vote in other than their home districts, and were, according to numerous reports by international observers, one of the main instruments of electoral fraud in the initial run-off.

6 thoughts on “Ukraine’s Court Says New Runoff Should Be Held by Dec. 26

  1. well, thank bugger for that! Good luck to everybody for Boxing Day (or the 26th of Decemeber, whatever part of the world you’re in).

  2. One has to wonder about the issue of absentee ballots. It is a serious concern.

    Also, what about the make-up of the Central Election Committee?

    Either way this is a wonderful start.

  3. Three cheers for democracy!

    BTW, I watched Yushchenko addressing the crowd live on Euronews, from shortly after 19h CET.

  4. Great news, but the new date might make it harder to get experienced election observers in large numbers. Not a day many OSCE observers would want to spend away from home, I imagine.

  5. HURRZAH!
    Important now that changes be made in the electoral commission and how the voting will be done in order to prevent the second electionfrom being stolen the way the first one was.

  6. For what it’s worth, I think it’s going to be much harder to rig the election this time around. Presumably at least some lukewarm Yanukovich voters have switched sides, and it looks like Kuchma and his cronies want to give Victor Y the old heave-ho.

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