[JURIST] Ukrainian opposition parties on Tuesday demanded the recount of votes from 13 districts that maintained power for President Viktor Yanukovich [official profile]. The Batkivshchyna, the country’s far-right nationalist party Svoboda and Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform Vitaliy Klychko [party websites, in Ukrainian] have organized protests outside the Central Election Commission’s office to argue [Reuters report] that the October parliamentary elections were won by fraud and pre-election bias in local media. The country’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov [official website, in Ukrainian] responded by accusing the opposition of trying to repeat the Orange revolution [BBC timeline]. The parliament also blocked the opposition’s demand by ordering only a partial recount of five districts. Opposition leaders stated that they will keep pushing their demands. The country’s authorities have until November 12 to announce preliminary results and until November 17 for binding official results pursuant to Ukraine’s election law.
Ukraine’s October election drew the focus of the international community in light of the ongoing trial prosecution of country’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive]. In September, the head of the Council of Europe [official website] had advocated for free and fair parliamentary elections [JURIST report] in Ukraine as he condemned the imprisonment of Tymoshenko. In August the Ukrainian Supreme Court [official website, in Ukrainian] upheld [JURIST report] Tymoshenko’s abuse of office conviction, reasoning that there would be no basis to rule in favor of the former prime minister and that the prison sentence is appropriate considering the charges against her. During the appeal the government denied allegations that the criminal proceedings against Tymoshenko were a measure initiated by Yanukovich to prevent her from participating in the October elections. The decision came only a day after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] held a hearing [JURIST report] on Tymoshenko’s appeal. During the same month, Ukrainian prosecutors urged the Supreme Court not to hear her appeal [JURIST report]. Prosecutors told the court that Tymoshenko’s trial had already established her guilt in the case, and asked the judges to let stand a seven-year prison sentence [JURIST report] in the case. Tymoshenko was not present at the hearing due to health concerns. The hearing has been delayed [JURIST report] in the past due to Tymoshenko’s absence. Yanukovich was narrowly elected [JURIST report] over Tymoshenko in 2010.