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Timoshenko urges opposition to unite for parliamentary election

December 20, 2011, 19:05 UTC+3

Timoshenko also denied claims of an alleged split at the Batkivshchyna Party as “a deliberate provocation”

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KIEV, December 20 (Itar-Tass) —— Ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister, Batkivshchyna Party leader Yulia Timoshenko has urged the opposition to unite for the parliamentary election.

“The opposition forces should have a single candidate list,” she said in an open letter read out by parliament deputy Sergei Vlasenko on Tuesday. He said Timoshenko wrote the letter at the Kiev detention ward on December 16.

“I humbly appeal to all leaders of opposition parties to unite for real and fight the ruling mafia in the upcoming election at the time when Ukraine is being sold out,” she wrote. “The only way of real unification is the single candidate list centered on a neutral party and single candidate lists in majority districts,” she said.

“I believe that opposition parties may reach this consensus without petty struggle for proportions and privileges and show that they love Ukraine, not themselves,” Timoshenko wrote.

In her opinion, this list may be presented to the public for debate and be headed by “a moral and patriotic person like [Ukrainian poet] Lina Kostenko,” she said. “I ask the Dictatorship Resistance Committee to discuss my proposal with all opposition parties and to accept it for the benefit of Ukraine. I believe that the real responsibility for the future of Ukraine is much more valuable than personal ambitions of politicians,” she said.

Timoshenko also denied claims of an alleged split at the Batkivshchyna Party as “a deliberate provocation.”

The court sentenced Timoshenko on October 11 to seven years in prison for exceeding her authority in the signing of the gas contracts with Russia in 2009. She was also compelled to pay 1.51 billion hryvni (almost $200 million) to Neftegaz Ukrainy.

A new case against Timoshenko was initiated on October 12. Detectives said that Timoshenko, while being the president of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine private corporation, under conspiracy with other former Prime Minister Pavel Lazarenko wrote off the corporation’s debt to the Russian Defense Ministry worth $405,500,000 to the state budget of Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry sent a letter to Ukraine demanding the payment of the debt. Timoshenko chaired the corporation in 1995-1997. She said in June 2011 that there were no debts to the Russian Defense Ministry.

On November 11 the Ukrainian State Tax Service charged ex-CEO of the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine Corporation Timoshenko with concealing $165 million revenues, embezzling public funds and dodging over 47 million hryvni (about $6 million) in taxes.

The Timoshenko case caused harsh comments from Europe.

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, speaking on behalf of the Commission, said: “The verdict comes after a trial which did not respect the international standards as regards fair, transparent and independent legal process which I repeatedly called for in my previous statements. This unfortunately confirms that justice is being applied selectively in politically motivated prosecutions of the leaders of the opposition and members of the former government.”

The European Parliament deplored the conviction of Timoshenko as a violation of human rights and an abuse of the judiciary designed to silence Ukraine’s leading opposition politician.

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