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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ukraine Parliament to Look into Vote Count Delay

RIA Novosti

14:36 06/11/2012 KIEV, November 6 (RIA Novosti) - The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday set up an ad hoc commission to probe the reasons for the slow ballot count after voting in October 28 elections.

Ukraine’s Supreme Rada Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn said parliament will also ask the Central Electoral Commission and the Prosecutor General’s Office to review the vote results in the nine single-seat constituencies where the winners have not been determined yet.

The Supreme Rada expects the two agencies to report back to lawmakers before Friday.

However, parliament dropped a provision in the resolution containing a list of persons allegedly implicated in ballot stuffing.

As of Monday, 99.95 percent of the ballots had been counted.

Up to 1,000 opposition protesters took to the streets in Kiev on Monday to protest the alleged ballot rigging, while opposition leaders hinted at the possibility of pushing for an early presidential and parliamentary vote.

The election was held according to a mixed system in which half the parliament's 450 deputies are elected according to party lists while the winners of the other 225 seats are elected on a first-past-the-post basis.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s ruling Party of Regions, which won about 30 percent of the party list vote and led in just over over half of the single-mandate races, appeared to secure the parliamentary majority it sought to keep in an informal alliance with the Communist Party of Ukraine.

But critics and opposition leaders have decried the vote, citing numerous reports of electoral violations across several Ukrainian regions.

Protesters from the three main opposition forces - imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland party, world famous boxer Vitaly Klitschko’s Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) and the nationalist All-Ukrainian Union “Freedom” - gathered in Kiev outside the Central Election Commission to protest the results.

Both Yanukovych and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov praised the elections as free and fair. But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the vote as a “step backward” for Ukrainian democracy.

International election observers criticized what they called the abuse of administrative resources, a lack of media freedom during the campaign season, and the opaque campaign finances of the Party of Regions and pro-government “independent” candidates.

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