Ukraine's former PM accuses government of rigging vote

30th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Ukraine's former prime minister accused President Viktor Yanukovych's government of rigging upcoming local elections, in comments to a German magazine Saturday.

"The final achievement of the (Orange) Revolution is in the process of being destroyed: free elections," Yulia Tymoshenko said in an interview with German news weekly Der Spiegel.

The current administration was resurrecting Soviet-style politics, she added.

Ukraine is due to vote on Sunday in regional and municipal polls, seen as the first test of the pro-Moscow Yanukovych's commitment to democracy.

Tymoshenko, defeated by Yanukovych in the presidential poll at the start of the year, has stepped up criticism of the government in the run-up to the vote.

She singled out changes of rules governing election committees which meant decisions could be taken by only three out of 18 members.

"We already have experience of committees formed of three people, called Troika. Under Stalin, executions, arrests and deportations of political opponents were endorsed by the Troika," she said.

In Ukraine's Orange Revolution, street protests and a court ruling cancelled Yanukovych's controversial victory in 2004 presidential elections. He lost in the rerun to the Orange Revolution's hero, Viktor Yushchenko.

Yanukovych subsequently improved his image and softened his pro-Russia rhetoric before making a remarkable political comeback.

© 2010 AFP

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