Ukraine's Court Says New Runoff Should Be Held by December 26

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

New York Times

December 3, 2004

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- The Supreme Court declared the results of Ukraine's disputed presidential run-off election invalid and ruled Friday that a repeat vote should be held by Dec. 26, bringing cheers from tens of thousands of opposition supported massed in Kiev's main square.

The short timeframe set for a new vote appeared to rule out the possibility of holding an entirely new election, as sought by outgoing President Leonid Kuchma.

Presiding Judge Anatoly Yarema said the rerun should be held by Dec. 26.

The court issued its verdict in response to an appeal by opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, who asked to cancel results of the Nov. 21 runoff, which he said had been rigged in favor of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

Yushchenko has pushed for a quick rerun of the runoff. He has rejected outgoing President Leonid Kuchma's call for a completely new election which was widely seen as a bid to field a new candidate more popular than Yanukovych.