Opposition urges Ukraine vote recounts as crowds rally

Mon Nov 5, 2012 7:05pm GMT

By Pavel Polityuk and Richard Balmforth

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's opposition demanded a recount or a re-run in 13 constituencies on Monday, stepping up its campaign against the results of last month's parliamentary election which it says was rigged by President Viktor Yanukovich's ruling party.

Opposition leaders pressed their demands in talks on Monday night with election officials as 1,500 supporters remained outside the electoral commission's headquarters in Kiev to protest against alleged fraud in the October 28 vote.

After a day of tension, the commission said it was ready to stage a re-run in five of the disputed electoral districts, but that would require parliament's approval and might not completely defuse the situation.

Opposition leaders emerging from the talks welcomed the announcement which they said was better than allowing a Regions party victory. They said they would continue to campaign for a just result and encouraged their supporters to stay on the streets overnight.

"We are demanding that the Central Electoral Commission announce the result of voting in 13 districts where, according to the final tally, the opposition won," Arseny Yatsenyuk, leader of the united opposition said.

"In those cases where it is impossible to establish the result a re-run should be announced," he told reporters at the commission's headquarters.

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Friday the ruling Party of the Regions had nothing to do with the incidents at the centre of the disputes, saying the overall results - which he said had handed victory to his party - were in line with exit-polls and pre-election surveys.

Even if the opposition was declared the winner in the disputed electoral districts the Regions would still keep its parliamentary majority as long as it had the support of its traditional communist allies and some independents.   Continued...

Oleg Tyagnibok (L), head of the All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda (Freedom) Party, addresses supporters during a rally in front of Ukraine's central electoral commission in Kiev November 5, 2012. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
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