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Ukraine's Yushchenko Declared Presidential Election Winner - 2004-12-28


Ukrainian election officials have formally declared opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko the winner of Sunday's rerun presidential election.

The final tally released Tuesday by the Central Election Commission gives Mr. Yushchenko 52 percent -- to 44 percent for Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

But on Monday, as early results indicated a win for Mr. Yushchenko, Mr. Yanukovych refused to concede defeat. He said he will challenge the results in the Supreme Court, pointing to what he called thousands of polling violations.

The Kremlin-backed prime minister complained that recent election reform laws favored the pro-Western Mr. Yushchenko, who has already declared victory.

Ukraine's Supreme Court ordered the runoff because of massive fraud in the November 21st presidential election that was won by Mr. Yanukovych.

Germany, France and Lithuania are the latest European countries to congratulate Viktor Yushchenko on his victory in the Ukrainian presidential election.

In a letter to Mr. Yushchenko today (Tuesday), German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed optimism that Ukraine will continue what he called its transition toward the rule of law and a market economy. He also invited the former Ukrainian opposition leader to visit him in Berlin.

Lithuanian President Viktor Adamkus congratulated Mr. Yushchenko in a telephone conversation. Mr. Adamkus helped mediate the dispute between Mr. Yushchenko's supporters and the government following last month's disputed runoff election.

In Paris, the foreign ministry said France and its European Union partners are determined to support democracy and modernization in Ukraine.

The United States and the European Union praised the election results on Monday.

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