Ukraine leadership blocks recount, election protest stalls
By Richard Balmforth
KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's opposition sought on Tuesday to keep up pressure over an election they say was rigged, but the leadership of President Viktor Yanukovich blocked their bid for a partial recount.
Deputies from Yanukovich's Party of the Regions traded charges in parliament with the bloc of jailed ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko about an election where the ruling party seems to have held its majority despite a strong opposition showing.
International monitors say the October 28 election in the former Soviet republic of 46 million was flawed in its run-up and marred by attempts to massage results in the vote count.
Tymoshenko's Batkivshchyna (Fatherland), far-right nationalists and a liberal party headed by boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, have held street protests over the election despite winning seats in the 450-member parliament.
But the Yanukovich government signalled it would fight opposition attempts to win a recount in 13 electoral districts where they say their candidates were cheated out of victory.
"Once again we're hearing calls for destabilisation," said Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, referring to the 2004-5 "Orange Revolution" street protests against vote-rigging which doomed Yanukovich's first bid for the presidency.
"We have no extra money for absurd ideas. The country has held elections. It has formed a parliament. It will work according to its schedule," he said.
The outgoing parliament, dominated by Yanukovich's party and its allies, stalled opposition pressure for a partial recount by setting up a committee to look into the issue. Continued...