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Yushchenko Officially Declared Winner In Ukraine

Viktor Yushchenko (file photo) 11 January 2005 -- Ukraine's Central Electoral Commission has declared Viktor Yushchenko the official winner of last month's rerun presidential election.

The commission said Yushchenko won 51.99 percent of the vote, while his rival Viktor Yanukovych gained 44.2 percent.

The director of the electoral commission, Yaroslav Davydovych, made the announcement live on Ukrainian television last night shortly before a midnight deadline expired.

Aides to Yanukovych have pledged to file an appeal against the result with the Supreme Court.

Last week, the Supreme Court rejected his appeal alleging widespread fraud during the December rerun and asking for the vote to be annulled. Yesterday, the court rejected more appeals by Yanukovych.

Yushchenko cannot be proclaimed the winner until Yanukovych exhausts all legal possibilities to challenge the election results.

Despite that, the speaker of the parliament, Vladimir Lytvyn, said lawmakers they will debate on 13 January when to hold Yushchenko's inauguration.