Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko yesterday appealed for Ukraine's
presidential election to be declared void as a court began hearing her
claim that she lost the election to Viktor Yanukovych because of fraud.
"The presidential elections were dishonest," she said in an
emotional hour-long speech to a roomful of judges - but vowed she would
accept any decision as long as it was fair.
"If everything is studied objectively, I will accept the decision
(of the court), which is the will of the people, but I cannot accept
double standards and I cannot give up."
Known for her predilection for beige designer outfits, the glamorous
politician instead wore a black dress to the court, her trademark
golden braid wrapped around her head.
Around 300 of her supporters gathered outside the supreme
administrative court of Ukraine to support the defiant prime minister,
but their numbers were dwarfed by a much larger pro-Yanukovych crowd.
Presenting the court with nine volumes of evidence, the fiery
premier wants to repeat the success of the 2004 presidential campaign
when courts overturned Yanukovych's victory and ordered a new election
which he then lost.
Tymoshenko says the 2010 polls did not have fewer violations than
those in 2004, but most analysts say Tymoshenko is facing an uphill
battle as international observers have already praised this year's
elections as fair and democratic.
This week, Tymoshenko filed a complaint with the court demanding the
results from the Feb. 7 ballot be invalidated. The court ruled that
final election results be suspended while it hears the case.
Addressing reporters just before the hearing started, she pledged to
fight until the end. "Today I have not come to defend the presidential
elections; I have come to defend Ukraine," she said. "I don't want the
future of my state, my people to be built on lies, on deception as
happened during the 2010 elections."
Yanukovych defeated Tymoshenko by about 3.5 per cent or just under
890,000 votes, according to the final official results. Tymoshenko
contends that mass violations, which she says amount to one million
votes, put the outcome in doubt.