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Ukrainian Supreme Court Considering Yanukovych Appeal

Yanukovych (file photo) 20 January 2005 -- The Ukrainian Supreme Court has started deliberating on what is likely the final appeal by Viktor Yanukovych challenging his defeat in the presidential runoff against Viktor Yushchenko.

The judges retired to their chambers late last night after hearing final arguments in the case. It's not clear when they will announce their decision. AFP says it could come in hours.

Yanukovych is demanding the court annul Yushchenko's victory in the 26 December runoff on the grounds of widespread fraud. The Supreme Court has already rejected a number of appeals filed by Yanukovych.

Yesterday, the court rejected an appeal by Yanukovych's lawyers to extend a ban on publishing the poll results.

That means newspapers can print the results -- showing Yushchenko winning by 8 percent -- as of today.

Yushchenko, meanwhile, said he would like to see his inauguration take place on 22 January. He said this was a fitting day because it is the anniversary of a 1919 proclamation of Ukrainian unity prior to the start of Soviet rule.

(AFP, Reuters)

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