Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich has been declared the official winner of the 2010 presidential election.
The country’s Central Election Commission has confirmed the result of the February 7 run-off vote giving Yanukovich victory over Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko by 3.48 percentage points.
Commission President Volodymyr Shapoval made the announcement, saying: “The Central Election Committee declares Viktor Fedoravich Yanukovich, born in 1950, member of the Ukrainian parliament, elected President of Ukraine.”
Tymoshenko is now expected to lodge an official appeal against the result and present evidence of fraud – which she says her supporters have accumulated – to a high court in Kiev.
So far Tymoshenko has refused to resign her position as prime minister although she has promised not to call people out for mass street protests like those of the Orange Revolution in 2004.
The president elect is urging her to stand down.
“Her five-year ineffective tenure in power leaves her with no possibility of retaining her position,”
said Yanukovich in a TV interview shortly after the announcement.
The Commission’s declaration followed endorsement of the election process by independent international monitors who hailed the run-off vote as an “impressive display” of democracy.