Lawmakers order partial re-run in Ukraine vote
By Richard Balmforth
KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's outgoing parliament ordered re-runs in five electoral districts on Tuesday, overriding complaints by the opposition which says President Viktor Yanukovich's party is trying to rob them of seats won national polls late last month.
Yanukovich's Party of the Regions and allies retained their majority in October 28 parliamentary elections but international observers and three opposition parties said the vote was tainted by fraud and pre-election bias in local media.
The Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, far-right nationalists and a liberal party headed by boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, have organized protests outside the Central Election Commission's offices in the capital Kiev.
They are demanding recounts in 13 constituencies where they say they have been cheated out of victory.
The authorities have until November 12 to announce the preliminary overall results and binding official results by November 17. It was not clear when the approved re-runs could take place.
Prime Minister Mykola Azarov dismissed the fraud allegations and accused the opposition of seeking to foment a repeat of the 2004-5 "Orange Revolution", when street protests against vote-rigging doomed Yanukovich's first bid for the presidency.
"Once again we're hearing calls for destabilization," Azarov told reporters. "We have no extra money for absurd ideas. The country has held elections. It has formed a parliament. It will work according to its schedule," he said.
The outgoing parliament, dominated by the Regions party, approved re-runs in five districts that each elect one deputy, and stalled opposition pressure for a broader recount in 13 districts by setting up a committee to study the matter. Continued...