Opposition will work to oust Yanukovich

Wed, Nov 14, 2012, 00:00

Ukraine’s three main opposition parties have vowed to work together in parliament to oust president Viktor Yanukovich and his government, following elections they claim were rigged in favour of the ruling party.

Mr Yanukovich’s Regions Party will have a majority in the new parliament if it continues to co-operate with communist deputies and independents, but it could face a strong challenge from a re-invigorated opposition.

The Fatherland bloc of jailed former premier Yulia Tymoshenko has joined forces with the liberal Udar (“Punch”) party of world heavyweight boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko and the far-right Freedom group to challenge a government they say is corrupt.

“The resignation of the president, the government and the state prosecutor: these are our three main political tasks,” said Arseny Yatsenyuk, who leads Fatherland in the absence of Ms Tymoshenko, who was jailed for seven years last October for abuse of power while prime minister.

Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of the ultra-nationalist Freedom party, added: “The very fact that three political forces have agreed to a joint start means that the opposition train has set off towards a new, honest, European country.”

The EU and the US have denounced the jailing of Ms Tymoshenko and former interior minister Yury Lutsenko and halted moves to forge closer ties with Kiev.

Ukraine had hoped the October 28th election would provide new impetus for the signing of a major political association and free-trade deal with the EU, but strong criticism of the vote from western monitors and Ms Tymoshenko’s continued imprisonment look likely to stymie progress.

Kiev insists the poll was free and fair, and rejects suggestions Ms Tymoshenko and her allies are being persecuted.