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Ukraine -- Opposition Supporters in Strike


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#1    Scorpius

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 01:44 AM

Ukraine challenger in strike call

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Ukraine's Liberal opposition challenger Viktor Yushchenko has said he does not recognize the election of Ukraine's prime minister as president and has called for a country-wide "political strike."

The country's election commission has declared PM Viktor Yanukovych the winner of a hotly contested presidential runoff, but U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell quickly dismissed the contest as marred by fraud.

Speaking in Washington, Powell urged Ukraine's leaders to "respond immediately" warning "there will be consequences" for the United States' relationship with Ukraine. (Full Story)

"This decision puts Ukraine on the verge of civil conflict," Yushchenko told tens of thousands of supporters massed in Kiev's main square for the third straight day, calling for a transport stoppage and other strike action.

Olexander Moroz, Socialist Party leader, said the opposition wanted to halt transport and close factories and schools but said the crisis could be resolved by holding new elections.

Yanukovych meanwhile described himself as the head of state on Wednesday and proposed immediate talks with liberal challenger Yushchenko.

"We must improve our lives and we will do it together -- all of our citizens and myself as president of Ukraine...," Yanukovych said in a brief appearance on state television monitored by Reuters.  

"Tomorrow, we start talks with Yushchenko's team. We will look for common ground. I am ready to listen to the opposition proposals."

Source: CNN.com | View: Full Article

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I'm surprised there hasn't been any violence on the streets.  Police shooting crowds, crowds throwing rocks--snowballs.  

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Edited by Blue-Scorpion, 25 November 2004 - 01:54 AM.

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#2    Talon

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 02:25 AM

Ukraine on brink of 'civil war'
Both sides in Ukraine's disputed presidential election have warned of a civil conflict, as tens of thousands of people continue to protest in Kiev.
Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko rejected the official results declaring Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych as president, and urged a general strike.

Outgoing President Leonid Kuchma called on world leaders not to interfere.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Washington "cannot accept" the election result as legitimate.

Correspondents say the opposition supporters show no signs of ending their three days of protests in the capital, Kiev.

Calling for a general strike, Mr Yushchenko told a vast crowd of supporters in the central Independence Square that Ukraine was on the brink of a "civil conflict".
Mr Kuchma, who backs Mr Yanukovych, denounced the opposition protests and warned civil war "could well become a reality at the present time".

Mr Yanukovych, who has now declared himself the winner, offered to hold talks with the opposition leader.

"We must improve our lives and we will do it together - all of our citizens and myself as president of Ukraine," he said in a brief appearance on state television.

But a key member of the opposition team told the BBC that Mr Yushchenko would only negotiate with Mr Kuchma.

The opposition said it would challenge the official result in the supreme court on Thursday.

Refusing to accept defeat, Mr Yushchenko told his supporters: "We do not recognise the election as officially declared."

He called for a national strike that would shut down schools, factories and transport networks.

The pro-Western Mr Yushchenko, who claims the vote was rigged against him, called the election commission's official declaration "their latest crime".

"With this decision, they want to put us on our knees," he told the crowd, which chanted: "Shame! Shame!"

Washington's warning

A host of celebrities have appeared on stage to show their support for the opposition.

They included Ukraine's Eurovision Song Contest winner, Ruslana, who announced she was going on hunger strike until the opposition leader was declared president.

A number of pro-government supporters were also visible on Kiev's streets for the first time on Wednesday, though eastern Ukraine saw pro-government rallies earlier in the week.
The two sides have been trading taunts and pro-government supporters celebrated the official results by drinking champagne.

Riot police have been on stand-by since the demonstrations began but there have been no reports of violence.

In Washington, Mr Powell said Ukraine was at a "critical moment" and had to decide whether it was on the side of democracy.

He warned of "consequences" for the US-Ukraine relationship, but he added: "It's still not too late to find a solution which respects the will of the people."

The election commission said Mr Yanukovych won Sunday's second round vote with a margin of almost three percentage points.

The commission had already indicated a win for Mr Yanukovych, but exit poll results had put Mr Yushchenko ahead.


The US and the European Commission had urged Ukraine not to announce the result before reviewing the contentious vote.
The new head of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, earlier warned Ukraine there could be "consequences" for its relations with the European Union, unless there was a serious and independent review.

The Netherlands, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, said it would send an envoy to Ukraine to discuss the disputed result.

Neighbouring Poland has also sent a top foreign policy adviser.

Western election observers and the Ukrainian opposition have reported thousands of voting irregularities, including a near 100% turnout in some pro-government strongholds.

Earlier, Mr Yushchenko said he was prepared to have a re-run of the vote if it was run by "honest" officials.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/worl...ope/4040041.stm






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#3    Scorpius

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 03:14 AM

I heard of it being "on the brink of civil war"...

I didn't know that pro-government supporters were out there as well.  I thought it was only the opposition supporters.  

It's good to see the US government commenting on the Ukraine poll.  I haven't heard any comments from the Canadian government.  We do share a democratic system.  Then again, does anyone really care what we think... laugh.gif  ph34r.gif  laugh.gif  ph34r.gif

I'll have to check out what other countries have to say about the political strike.

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I think I've been on the wrong TV station, CNN isn't Canadian.  whistling2.gif

Canada joins world governments in condemning Ukraine election results

WASHINGTON - Canada would examine its relations with Ukraine if authorities fail to follow the democratic will of the people, said Canada's Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan.

"The government of Canada cannot accept that the announced results by the [Ukrainian] Central Elections Commission reflect the true, democratic will of the Ukrainian people ... Canada rejects the announced final results," said McLellan in the House of Commons Wednesday.

Source: CBC.ca | View: Full Article

Edited by Blue-Scorpion, 25 November 2004 - 03:26 AM.

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#4    Erikl

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 03:24 PM

Putin says Ukraine election results are clear

THE HAGUE (AFP) - The results of the Ukraine presidential elections results are absolutely clear, Russian President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites) said after a summit meeting with the European Union (news - web sites).

"I congratulated Viktor Yanukovich", the Ukrainian prime minister, for the "results are absolutely clear," Putin said Thursday after talks in The Hague (news - web sites) with the EU.

Earlier before the summit started Putin sent a congratulatory message to pro-Moscow Yanukovich, who was the handpicked choice of outgoing President Lenoid Kuchma to replace him.

"The Ukrainian people have made their choice -- a choice in favor of stability, the strengthening of the state, further development of democratic and economic transformation," Putin told Yanukovich in the message published by the Kremlin.

Tens of thousands of people have held four days of protests in Ukraine in support of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, who the electoral commisssion said Wednesday had been narrowly defeated by Yanukovich in the polls.

But the European Union emerged from Thursday's summit saying it refused to recognise the results of Sunday's run-off poll.

"The election did not meet the international standards. Therefore the EU is not able to accept the result," Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said. The Netherlands currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.

Putin however said the dispute was an issue to be resolved by the courts.

"From my perspective, all issues should be addressed within the framework of the constitution and legislation. All claims should go to the courts," Putin said.

"All of this should be adressed through dialogue," he added.

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#5    Scorpius

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 10:10 PM

Interesting.  

It seems that Russia's government officials didn't analyze Ukraine's election results when the White House (US), the House of Commons (Canada), and the EU did.  Due to the opposition's arguements and credible evidence of fraud.

If the opposition supporters would go out there and politically strike for days, then obviously we know who should of won -- the opposition.  Or else there would have not been a political strike to this degree.

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#6    Erikl

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 12:49 AM

Errrm... Russia is no longer a democracy tongue.gif... not since a year or so... the elections in Russia weren't any better than the ones in Ukraine, and Putin since then banned freedom of protest, and passed a law which concetrates all juristictions in the hands of the president (meaning - him tongue.gif).
Also, Russian news networks started spreading government propaganda again and spread the lies that the government produces to it's people (see the Beslan situation for a recent example).

Though Russia is not a communist state anymore, it is not a democracy either.

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#7    Mekorig

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 12:58 AM

Damm, problems in the country of my Grandfathers.....I hope that the people kick the old guard/neo-soviets in the gonads.enough damage they have done to Ukraine.

Iīm an evil pinko UN slave liberal commie

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#8    Mad Manfred

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 01:25 AM

It's not as bad as it looks or sounds.

I've seen comprehensive footage showing very peaceful protests.

And of course Powell and the US are against the re-election. The Ukrainian President is pro-Russian.


#9    Erikl

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 09:55 AM

Ukraine Opposition Surrounds Buildings

By MARA D. BELLABY, Associated Press Writer

KIEV, Ukraine - Ukrainian opposition supporters encircled the presidential and Cabinet buildings on Friday, refusing to let anyone pass in a bold move ahead of the arrival of four European envoys sent to defuse the electoral standoff.

This former Soviet republic of 48 million has been seized by an ever-escalating political crisis since Sunday's much criticized presidential runoff vote, which both candidates say they won.

The crisis has brought throngs of protesters into the capital, Kiev, where they have set up a sprawling tent camp along a main avenue and square, braving freezing temperatures for five straight nights.

Official results from the presidential runoff indicate Kremlin-backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych won. But his Western-leaning opponent, Viktor Yushchenko, says the ballot was rigged, and Western observers have concurred.

On Friday, the protesters — standing five deep and linking arms — blockaded the Cabinet building where Yanukovych works in the capital Kiev and refused to let staff enter. Police were packed into about 12 buses parked nearby.

Protesters had also surrounded the presidential administration building, which was guarded by ranks of police in riot gear.

The opposition candidate's camp filed an appeal Thursday against the Central Election Commission's final tally with the Supreme Court. Hours later, the court ordered that the results not be published until the appeal is heard Monday. Yanukovych cannot be inaugurated until the publication.

Although Yanukovych enjoys the backing of outgoing President Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine's Supreme Court is respected as an unbiased body.

Yushchenko praised the decision, but told the crowd, "This is only the beginning."

Some of his allies have pushed for more radical action, with popular opposition leader Yuliya Tymoshenko calling on opposition supporters to seize power by surrounding government buildings, blocking railways and transport. The opposition has called a nationwide strike — but it remained unclear whether the country was responding.

Yanukovych said late Thursday, "I don't see any possibility for resolving this conflict by the path of ultimatums ... we should sit at the negotiating table," news agencies reported.

But his opponent has insisted that the main condition for starting discussions was that "both sides acknowledge the results of the election were not valid."

Neither Kuchma nor Yanukovych has shown any willingness to do that.

Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski arrived in Kiev on Friday at Kuchma's request, and he was also due to meet with Yanukovych and Yushchenko, the Polish Embassy said Friday.

Kwasniewski was bringing a three-point plan: to call on both sides to renounce violence, to urge a re-count of the vote and to try to initiate round-table talks.

Also expected to arrive were Javier Solana, the European Union (news - web sites)'s chief foreign policy representative, Jan Kubis, head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation (news - web sites) in Europe, whose election observers criticized the presidential runoff as marred by fraud, and Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus — also at Kuchma's urging.

The crisis has threatened to further divide this nation of 48 million, and raised the prospect of civil conflict. Yanukovych drew his support from the pro-Russian, heavily industrialized eastern half of Ukraine. Yushchenko's strength was in the west, a traditional center of nationalism.



On Thursday, Ukrainians in the west heeded the opposition's calls to block roads. Along a main western road leading from the city of Lviv to the Polish border, Yushchenko supporters put up a barricade of logs and burning tires.

"We are doing this for our president, Yushchenko," said Maria Cherkas, standing at the roadblock.

Meanwhile, in Kiev — Ukraine's very European capital, which has thrown its support overwhelmingly behind Yushchenko — opposition supporters maintained their vigil on Independence Square, while Yanukovych supporters continued to arrive on trains and buses from the east.

"People in Kiev are treating us like lepers," said Yuriy Koshchun, 24, from Melitopol in Ukraine's southeast, who supports Yanukovych. "They even refused to give us water."

The opposition, meanwhile, received another boost Thursday from visiting Lech Walesa, the founder of the Polish Solidarity movement, who said he was "amazed" at their enthusiasm and predicted their protest would succeed.

The election has led to an increasingly tense tug-of-war between the West and Moscow, which considers Ukraine part of its sphere of influence and a buffer between Russia and NATO (news - web sites)'s eastern flank. The United States and the European Union have said they cannot accept the results and warned Ukraine of "consequences" in relations with the West.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites) has put his personal prestige on the line by openly backing Yanukovych.

SOURCE

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#10    Erikl

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 11:09 AM

Poland Gets Involved in Ukraine Standoff

By VANESSA GERA, Associated Press Writer

WARSAW, Poland - Wedged between troubled Ukraine and the West, Poland has plunged into the disputed Ukrainian presidential election in an attempt to mediate — a sign of anxiety over the prospect of instability and rising Russian influence so close to home.



President Aleksander Kwasniewski said Thursday that he would head to Kiev at the request of Ukraine's President, Leonid Kuchma, to help broker talks between the government and the opposition led by Viktor Yushchenko, who says he was robbed of victory by a Moscow-favored candidate in Sunday's runoff vote.

"I have been asked by Kuchma as well as the opposition to come to Ukraine for discussions and as a mediator. I am ready and willing to do so," he said.

"I am going as the Polish president, but I hope with the backing of the European Union (news - web sites)."

Kwasniewski was to leave Friday for Kiev, the Polish news agency PAP reported.

A new EU member, Poland's heart is clearly with Yushchenko, the Western-leaning opposition leader who has declared himself the winner over Viktor Yanukovich, openly supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites).

With their memories of domination by Moscow during the Cold War, Poles have an emotional stake in Ukraine's fate because they fear a strengthened Russia closer to their borders, analysts say. They see their own struggle to shake off Moscow-backed rule reflected in the struggle waged by Yushchenko's camp.

Kwasniewski's announcement came as another famous Pole, former president and Solidarity founder Lech Walesa, visited Kiev and urged on a massive crowd of opposition supporters to fight for "freedom, democracy and economic freedom."

Walesa urged Europe and the rest of the world to get involved. "Ukraine should be helped, because it is a huge nation, very strongly dependent on communism," Walesa said at a news conference at Yushchenko headquarters. "It is not able to shed this dependence on its own, without economic proposals."

"Now, due to this conflict, maybe we will all turn our attention to Ukraine and begin to cooperate."

Both Kwasniewski, 50, and Walesa, 61, are deeply versed in the clash between government and opposition — a conflict they helped resolve in Poland in the late 1980s.

Both played key roles in so-called "round table" talks that ended communist rule, Walesa as head of the anti-communist Solidarity trade union movement and Kwasniewski as a young, reform-minded minister in the communist government of the time.

Poland's parliament on Thursday passed a resolution calling on Ukraine to "respect free elections." Many lawmakers in the chamber wore ties and ribbons in orange, the color of Yushchenko's campaign.

A day earlier, thousands rallied in Warsaw and other Polish cities in support of Yushchenko. In the southwestern city of Wroclaw, 500 Poles and Ukrainians demonstrated in the main square, demanding Yushchenko become president of a "Ukraine without Putin."

"A democratic and independent Ukraine is perceived in Poland as a guarantee against imperial tendencies from Russia — that there isn't another Soviet Union," said Tadeusz Falkowski, a Ukraine expert with the Public Affairs Institute, a Warsaw think tank. "That could also help to make Russia more democratic."

Hopes for a democratic Ukraine are one reason Poland has pushed the EU to keep the door open for Ukraine to join one day, although the bloc has shown little inclination to do so, given Ukraine's backward economy and reputation for corruption.

"It is hard to justify the fact that the EU is to open membership talks with Turkey and does not want to draw any time perspectives for Ukraine's membership," said Zygmunt Berdychowski, an expert with the independent Institute of Eastern Studies in Warsaw.

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#11    wunarmdscissor

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Posted 27 November 2004 - 10:22 AM

QUOTE
And of course Powell and the US are against the re-election. The Ukrainian President is pro-Russian.


Its rich for america to criticisize a country for vote riggin lol.

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#12    Talon

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Posted 28 November 2004 - 11:29 AM

Ukrainian poll re-run calls grow
Calls are growing for last Sunday's disputed presidential elections in Ukraine to be cancelled and re-run.
EU officials have backed opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko's demand for a new run-off as the "ideal outcome" of the current deadlock.

And Russia, which had previously accepted the result, said on Saturday it would regard a new vote favourably.

Parliament has refused to recognise the official declaration of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych as the winner.

In a non-binding resolution on Saturday, MPs declared the poll invalid, saying the result was "at odds with the will of the people".

The opposition is alleging massive fraud.

Supporters of Mr Yushchenko have been demonstrating all week in Kiev's main Independence Square, and on Saturday Ukrainian TV said 800,000 people were out on the capital's streets.


'Ideal outcome'

Parliament cannot overturn the result, but its views may carry weight with the supreme court, which meets on Monday to examine fraud claims.


A majority of MPs also passed a vote of no-confidence in the country's Central Election Commission.


Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot - speaking for the European Union - said the "ideal outcome" would be to hold new elections before the end of the year.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, who has been taking part in mediation efforts in Kiev, has described last Sunday's vote as fraudulent, adding that relations with Ukraine depend on a democratic resolution.

Meanwhile Russian media quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko as saying that Moscow would oppose neither a recount nor a re-run of the election.

Russia did not interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign countries, he added.

There has been no word from the man declared winner of the election, Viktor Yanukovych.

Talks

Mr Yushchenko has called on his supporters, who have held massive protests in Kiev all week, to stay on the streets until they achieve "victory".

Rival protests have been staged in the eastern city of Donetsk by supporters of Mr Yanukovych.

Talks are also expected to continue between representatives of the two sides.

Mr Yushchenko has promised direct action by his supporters if a solution is not found to the crisis within days.

He wants a repeat vote to be held on 12 December, under the supervision of the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Mr Yanukovych has accused the opposition, which has been blocking access to government buildings, of attempting to stage a coup.

According to the official election result, the pro-Russian Mr Yanukovych won with 49.46% of the vote against Mr Yushchenko's 46.61%.

The supreme court suspended the presidential poll result on Thursday to consider the opposition's complaints.


Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/worl...ope/4048965.stm




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