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Ukraine Opposition Threatens to Boycott Parliament

By Alex Johnston
Epoch Times Staff
Created: November 5, 2012 Last Updated: November 7, 2012
Related articles: World » Europe
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Leader of Ukrainian nationalist party Svoboda (Freedom) Oleg Tyagnybok speaks during a rally of the opposition in front of central election commission in Kiev on November 5, 2012. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)

Leader of Ukrainian nationalist party Svoboda (Freedom) Oleg Tyagnybok speaks during a rally of the opposition in front of central election commission in Kiev on November 5, 2012. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine’s opposition parties said they would boycott the new parliamentary session unless the government admits there was vote rigging during last week’s elections that saw President Victor Yanukovych’s ruling party take a large number of seats. On Monday the Central Election Commission proposed new elections in some areas.

The commission said that in five constituencies the elections were not conducted according to constitutional provisions and Ukrainian law, reported the Kyiv Post.

Commission head Volodymyr Shapoval said the provisions prohibit the use of force, threats, fraud, bribery, and other coercive measures that compromise voters’ free will to vote for whomever they wish.

The United Opposition bloc, which includes jailed ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party, said they want early presidential and parliamentary elections. If their demands are not met, the bloc will “denounce the next parliament as powerless,” reported Radio Free Europe.

The bloc accused Yanukovych’s government of “rigging the vote and illegally taking away mandates won by opposition candidates.”

Ukrainian officials are still counting the votes just over a week after the election took place, triggering speculation that the ruling party is rigging elections in favor of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.

The head of Batkivshchyna party, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said during a protest in Kyiv that the Party of Regions is currently changing the election results to secure a victory for its candidates, according to RFE.

Vitali Klitschko, a former boxer and head of the UDAR anti-corruption party, has said, “If the manipulation continues, we will do all we can to denounce these elections as invalid,” reported the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

Klitschko claimed that many elections violations were carried out but noted that his party will wait until the outcome of the vote is finally declared.

“We have every reason to say that a large number of abuses were committed before and during the elections. It’s difficult to declare these elections as honest,” he said.

Meanwhile, the opposition Svoboda party also said it is considering boycotting the Parliament, which may force the government to hold more elections because Parliament would not meet the required quorum of 300 lawmakers.

Oleg Tyagnibok, the Svoboda chief, said the Party of Regions showed “arrogance and contempt for the Ukrainian people,” according to a statement. Tyagnibok concluded that his party and Ukrainian voters should “punish” those who counterfeited the election.

International elections monitors from the United Nations-backed Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said last week there were numerous violations during voting, describing the elections as a step in the wrong direction after years of reform.

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