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Ukrainian Court Rejects All Vote Challenges --> The Supreme Court struck down all four major challenges (file photo) 30 December 2004 -- Ukraine's Supreme Court today dismissed the final three legal challenges brought by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych aimed at invalidating the presidential runoff won by his opponent, Viktor Yushchenko, nearly extinguishing his allies' hopes of staving off a landmark change in the country's political leadership.

The court had rejected a fourth complaint yesterday.

The court refused to review complaints alleging that the Central Election Committee failed to enforce voting law and failed to ensure that all disabled voters received home-voting rights, among other things.

Yanukovych, however, may launch further legal challenges once the poll's result is officially published.

Electoral authorities are also reviewing complaints from Yanukovych seeking to nullify the 26 December repeat runoff, although the eight-point margin of defeat suggests that is unlikely.

Yanukovych Side Confident

Allies of opposition leader Yushchenko said today they are confident that their side will win any legal challenges.

Meanwhile, Yushchenko suggested that he would support Yuliya Tymoshchenko to be Ukraine's prime minister once he is president.

Tymoshchenko yesterday foreshadowed a new political order in Ukraine: "When we come to power, opposition members will not be jailed or exiled as they were under [outgoing President Leonid] Kuchma," Tymoshenko said. "And their heads will not be cut off, as happened to [slain journalist Heorhiy] Gongadze, and journalists will not be beaten in their own homes, because we are coming to power with a completely different heart and a different mind. And I think you will be able to see and understand that."

Yushchenko has pledged that his new government will work to deepen Ukraine's cooperation with both the European Union and Russia.


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[For more RFE/RL coverage and analysis, see our dedicated "Ukraine's Disputed Election" website.]