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Defeated Ukrainian Premier Files Challenge Of Vote Results

Yanukovych (file photo) 29 December 2004 -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, defeated in the 26 December presidential election, today made an attempt to challenge the victory of his opponent, Viktor Yushchenko.

Yanukovych has lodged complaints with the Supreme Court and the election commission over the presidential vote.

Central Election Commission Chairman Yaroslav Davydovych said that these legal challenges are an attempt to draw the commission out of its impartial stand and into politics. He said that is impossible.

Yanukovych, clinging to his prime minister's post by a technicality, has refused to concede defeat in the rerun of the 21 November poll, when his victory was overturned by the Supreme Court because of massive fraud.

At a news conference, Yanukovych said he will not quit as prime minister.

"When they [the opposition] say I should resign now, my response to that is, let them continue their lawlessness, but, as a matter of principle, I will not submit a resignation. And I know why they insist on my resignation. It is because they are shivering with fear now, just as they did in the beginning. And they have every reason to think so. We will yet say our word, in the future -- in the near future," Yanukovych said.

International observers backed the victory of the West-leaning Yushchenko.

The government cancelled a meeting today at its headquarters after Yushchenko supporters massed to keep Yanukovych out. It eventually moved to another building in the city but the prime minister stayed away.

(compiled from wire reports)

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