Ukraine’s pro-western challenger for the presidency, Viktor Yushchenko, has said he is prepared to rerun the disputed election if it is overseen by honest officials.
Not long after the offer, the central electoral commission declared prime minister Viktor Yanukovich the winner of Sunday’s run-off, with 49.46 of the vote. Yushchenko told the crowd in Independence Square: ““We are ready to have a repeat of the second round vote provided we have an honest Central Election Commission.” International observers said the poll was seriously flawed, and today Yushchenko repeated allegations of electoral fraud, including turnout of nearly 100 per cent in pro-government areas. He said that when asked by broadcasters including Euronews why he took the unusual step of swearing himself yesterday, he had explained that he was like a man seeing a woman being attacked, and had to act. He also denied that any negotiations with the prime minister’s camp had taken place. Outgoing president Leonid Kuchma yesterday offered to host negotiations involving all sides. He has also stressed that the authorities will not use force to resolve the political crisis. Similary the defence minister said there would be no troop deployments in reaction to the protests.