Skip to comments.Report: Ukraine Opposition Leader Takes Oath ("Ukraine is on the threshold of a civil conflict")
Posted on 11/23/2004 9:03:00 AM PST by Grzegorz 246
KIEV, Ukraine - Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko declared victory in Ukraine's presidential election and took a symbolic oath of office Tuesday, warning that the country was on the verge of civil conflict. About 200,000 supporters gathered in the capital to protest alleged election fraud.
Yushchenko accused authorities of rigging Sunday's vote in favor of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and announced a campaign of civil disobedience.
"Ukraine is on the threshold of a civil conflict," Yushchenko told lawmakers gathered for an emergency session of parliament to consider an opposition request to annul the election results. "We have two choices: either the answer will be given by the parliament, or the streets will give an answer."
The parliamentary session ended without making any decision, since only 191 lawmakers less than the 226 required to have a quorum attended.
After the session ended, Yushchenko swore an oath on a 300-year-old Bible. The Ukrainian constitution, however, stipulates that the president swears allegiance on a copy of the constitution. Lawmakers chanted "Bravo, Mr. President!"
Earlier, Yushchenko and his allies had released a statement appealing "to the parliaments and nations of the world to bolster the will of the Ukrainian people, to support their aspiration to return to democracy."
The opposition will conduct "a campaign of civil disobedience" and "a nonviolent struggle for recognition of the true results of the election."
The Election Commission's announcement that the Kremlin-backed Yanukovych was ahead of the Western-leaning Yushchenko has galvanized anger among many of the former Soviet republic's 48 million people. Official results, with more than 99.48 percent of precincts counted, showed Yanukovych leading with 49.39 percent to his challenger's 46.71 percent. But several exit polls had found Yushchenko the winner.
More than 100,000 people marched behind Yushchenko to the parliament building and waited behind metal barriers, waving orange flags Yushchenko's campaign color and holding a giant orange ribbon over their heads, chanting "Criminals go away!" But many began leaving after parliament failed to reach quorum and temperatures dropped as evening approached.
In parliament, pro-Yushchenko lawmakers wearing orange handkerchiefs in their pockets took turns at the podium.
"All political forces should negotiate and solve the situation without blood," said parliament speaker Volodymyr Litvyn.
"The activities of politicians and the government ... have divided society and brought people into to the streets," Litvyn said. "Today there is a danger of activities moving beyond control."
A no-confidence vote in parliament would have carried political significance, but it would not have been binding. According to the Ukrainian constitution, a no-confidence vote must be initiated by the president and outgoing President Leonid Kuchma has staunchly backed Yanukovych.
Opposition leader and Yushchenko ally Yulia Tymoshenko, wearing an orange ribbon around her neck, called on lawmakers "not to go to into any negotiations" with the government. Instead, Tymoshenko said, they should "announce a new government, a new president, a new Ukraine."
Yushchenko supporters set up tents awash with orange on Kiev's main avenue and in Independence Square, pledging to stay despite freezing temperatures until he is declared president. People continued to arrive in minibuses and on foot, raising fears of civil unrest in this nation of 48 million.
The tent city even generated its own one-page newspaper, which was being handed out to supporters.
Mykola Tomenko, a lawmaker and Yushchenko ally, said some police had joined the opposition, although the claim was impossible to independently verify. One police officer, wearing an orange ribbon in his uniform, ordered a group of police outside a government building to retreat inside, defusing tension between them and Yushchenko supporters.
Kiev's city council and the administrations of four other sizable cities Lviv, Ternopil, Vinnytsia and Ivano-Frankivsk have refused to recognize the official results and they back Yushchenko.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites), who strongly praised Yanukovych during the election, sent his congratulations to the prime minister, but observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation (news - web sites) in Europe and other international organizations pointed to extensive indications of voting fraud.
The European Union (news - web sites) called for an urgent review of the results, and Senator Richard Lugar, chairman of the U.S. Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, spoke of "a concerted and forceful program of election-day fraud and abuse."
In televised comments, Yanukovych called for national unity, saying: "I categorically will not accept the actions of certain politicians who are now calling people to the barricades. This small group of radicals has taken upon itself the goal of splitting Ukraine."
Grzegorz: what is Poland's position regarding the election? As ironic as it might be, what if Yushchenko appeals to Poland for support?
This is what we narrowly avoided in the US. I'm really glad that John Kerry didn't make good on his threat to declare himself president.
Thanks for posting this, there are a lot of pictures here http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1286558/posts
These are very interesting events to watch.
My girlfriend is Ukrainian (but lives in Moldova), so I have a personal stake in the outcome.
I hope that any real civil war in Ukraine won't happen, because we would have to step in.
Not this again ...
Michael Moore should investigate!
Soros should fund a recount!
Oh, that's right, the socialist was declared the winner. The libs won't touch this with a 10ft pole.
Thank goodness Lugar was there. Imagine if Jimmy Carter went there to meddle during the elections.
Amazing how many commies are on Free Republic today. Yanukovich, besides being a commie and Russian stooge, got his start in politics by holding a high position in the mob before even the end of the Soviet Union. The only way he could have done that without getting a bullet in his neck back then would have been by being a KGB tool. Moreover, he was convicted once of rape, once of ripping earrings off of women while the earrings were still in their ears. The KBG hushed up two other of his convictions. His mob nickname has "Ham", which is a Russian used to refer to a completely uncultured lout.
Reports now that Russia is sending troops to Ukraine, including Spetznaz, according to Ukrainian newspaper Korrespondent. Also reports that the Ukrainian diplomatic corps in US have repudiated Yanukovich and the fraud that supposedly elected him.
http://www.korrespondent.net/main/107452 regarding Spetznaz
http://www.maidan.org.ua/static/news/1101187142.html regarding diplomat corps.
I don't trust either one of these candidates. Could be a deliberate provocation designed to give the Soviets/Russians the excuse to intervene, it could be that Yushchenko is playing both sides of the fence to ensure the "opposition" movement doesn't go too far or get out of control, and it could also be that his function is to steer the "opposition" movement over to the pro-Russian camp via a series of compromises. It could just be just coincidence, but the following interview with Yushchenko sounds like he is speaking in code (key words, "Trust", "Final Phase", "political accord"=coalition government...even though he knows those who want real--as opposed to phony--reform represent the vast majority of Ukrainians...read the whole interview...very eye opening, if you know what to look for):
Q: What would need to happen for Our Ukraine to stop being in opposition and to declare that it has achieved its goals?
A: The formation of a democratic majority in the Parliament and the formation of a government of national trust would do it. The final phase would occur with the signing of a political accord between a democratic parliamentary majority, a new government and the president on political, economic and social reform in Ukraine.
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