Putin would accept newUkraine election: Germany
30 November 2004 , BERLIN - Russian President Vladimir Putin would accept the holding of a repeat presidential election in Ukraine, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's spokesman said on Tuesday. Schroeder and Putin - who have a close political friendship - telephoned earlier on Tuesday over the situation in Ukraine, said chief government spokesman Bela Anda. "The Chancellor and the Russian president agreed that the result of an election repeat which takes place on the basis of the Ukrainian constitution
30 November 2004
BERLIN - Russian President Vladimir Putin would accept the holding of a repeat presidential election in Ukraine, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's spokesman said on Tuesday.
Schroeder and Putin - who have a close political friendship - telephoned earlier on Tuesday over the situation in Ukraine, said chief government spokesman Bela Anda.
"The Chancellor and the Russian president agreed that the result of an election repeat which takes place on the basis of the Ukrainian constitution and reflects the will of the Ukrainian people should be strictly respected," said Anda.
Russia had previously congratulated the officially declared winner of Ukraine's election, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.
But the west has refused to recognize the election results and Ukraine has been paralysed since the 21 November vote by mass protest to support opposition candidate Viktor Yuschenko, who alleges that voter fraud robbed him of victory.
Outgoing Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said on Monday that a new vote might be the best compromise.
In the meantime, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on Tuesday called for a repeat of Ukraine's presidential elections, saying it was essential that democratic principles were safeguarded in the country.
Fischer also rejected allegations that the European Union was backing Yuschenko.
"We are on the side of democracy," Fischer told reporters on the margins of an EU meeting with Middle East countries in The Hague.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's election crisis appeared to edge towards a peaceful resolution on Tuesday with key aspects of the conflict under discussion in the Supreme Court and in parliament.
The high court continued hearings begun on Monday on possible falsification of the 21 November vote that sparked the biggest demonstrations in the country's history.
The hearings proceeded in a strikingly calm atmosphere, with legal arguments remaining factual and practically free of emotion, and justices making a clear effort to investigate all aspects of the case.
But lawyers for Yanukovich maintained he was the legitimate winner.
Court representatives for Yuschenko, a former National Bank head, who lost to Yanukovich by a thin margin, claimed they had proof the result came from massive vote-fixing in Yanukovich's favour.
Portions of the proceedings have been aired live on television, a first for the country. The court has set no deadline for hearing arguments, or making a decision in the case.
Ukrainian media and political observers in recent days have almost unanimously predicted that when the court finally does make a ruling, it will annul the 21 November vote in part or in total.
Ukraine's parliament on Tuesday met in a special session to consider public advocation by some eastern Ukrainian politicians of the outright secession from Ukraine of provinces supporting Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, if he is not named president.
Mykola Azarov, first Vice Premier and Finance Minister, took the stand for the government and spent the morning answering often sharp but nevertheless surprisingly calm and unemotional questions from legislators.
Ukraine's nine days of political chaos have cost the government some USD 320 million (EUR240 million), Azarov said. The government budget remains stable and, providing mass demonstrations do not worsen, the government expects to meet all its obligations, he said.
Azarov's testimony also was a preliminary step to parliament's possible consideration of a no-confidence motion in Yanukovich's government.
The main grounds, speaker Volodymyr Litvin said in opening remarks, lay in Prime Minister Yanukovich's direct participation in a Sunday "congress" of politicians from the country's eastern regions to advocate a possible break-up of the country.
Yuschenko has called for Yanukovich and other participants in the gathering to be prosecuted for treason. Yanukovich has said he is a Ukrainian patriot but would "do everything possible" to protect the rights of his supporters in the country's east.
Demonstrations in the capital Kiev continued in distinctly lower numbers than in previous weeks.
Protesters lifted a blockade of the Cabinet of Minister building, but continued manning barriers around the Presidential Admnistration building.
Yuschenko first announced he would open barricades around the Cabinet of Ministers building on Sunday, but was only able to get the orders carried out by Tuesday.
Azarov, during remarks to the legislature, thanked Yuschenko and the demonstrators for allowing him and other state employees to go to work.
Subject: German news