Jailed opposition leader ends protest at "rigged" votes


Kiev – Ukraine’s jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko yesterday ended a hunger strike which she began 18 days ago in protest against alleged vote-rigging by the ruling party in the October 28th parliamentary election.

The former prime minister said international monitors’ negative judgment of the election, in which President Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of the Regions looks certain to have hung on to a majority in parliament, had proved her right.

“Today . . . it is already a fact which every Ukrainian citizen knows: that these parliamentary elections were fraudulent,” she said.

“I now consider it possible for me, on the 18th day, to end the hunger strike and carry on my struggle against the corrupt Yanukovich regime by other methods,” she said.

Western monitors of the election described the poll as a step backwards for Ukraine, criticised misuse of administrative resources, biased media, and opaque campaign funding. They also denounced Ms Tymoshenko’s jailing.

Other western national missions also supported opposition claims that there were irregularities in the vote-count in some districts. – (Reuters)