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Yanukovych sworn in as Ukraine's new president

RIA Novosti


KIEV, February 25 (RIA Novosti) - Viktor Yanukovych has been sworn in as Ukraine's new president in an inauguration ceremony held in the Ukrainian parliament.

Yanukovych gained 48.95% of the votes in the runoff election on February 7 while his rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko garnered 45.47%.

The inauguration ceremony was held, however, in a half empty hall of the Supreme Rada, in the absence of ex-president Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko who has refused to recognize Yanukovych as the new president or quit her office.

In his inauguration speech, the new president criticized the leaders of the "orange revolution" who were propelled into power in 2005 as a result of street protests over mass fraud at the presidential elections.

Yanukovych said the country was plagued by poverty, the crippling economy and corruption but added he knew how to remedy the situation.

Yanukovych said one of his new decrees would deal with cuts in spending on the presidential secretariat, adding it was necessary to create an effective system of executive power quickly in the ex-Soviet republic and form a Cabinet of Ministers which will consist of professionals.

Yanukovych's Party of Regions, the largest in parliament, is currently in talks with parliamentary groups to create a coalition to be able to appoint a new prime minister. Tymoshenko is trying to preserve an uneasy coalition of her bloc with ex-president Yushchenko, which has a thin majority in parliament.

Tymoshenko and Yushchenko led the "orange revolution" protests that overturned Yanukovych's tainted election victory in 2004, but have since fallen apart. Their political battles have exacerbated the country's economic crisis.