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KIEV, October 29 (Itar-Tass) —— Former Prime Minister and opposition Batkivshchina party leader Yulia Timoshenko, who is serving a 7-year prison term in Kharkov, said the October 28 parliamentary elections were the most unfair in the history of new Ukraine.
“The most unfair elections since Ukraine’s regained independence were held from July 28 to October 29, 2012,” she said in a statement read by her lawyer Sergei Vlasenko on Monday, October 29.
She believes that declaring the elections fair and legitimate would mean “fully demoralising the Ukrainian nation and that part of our people who continue to believe in justice and European choice”.
Timoshenko also cited exit polls as indicating that 73 percent of respondents did not support the ruling Party of Regions. “The regime has fully lost its legitimacy,” she said.
In her opinion, the authorities are trying to “correct” the results of the voting “through corruption in majoritarian constituencies” and fake ballots “in the corrupt local and territorial commissions” in order to form a parliamentary majority.
“I will not be guided by considerations of political expediency and I will not call an obvious sham a truth. The elections were falsified from the first to the last day, and concealing that would mean crossing out the future of Ukraine,” Timoshenko said.
She stressed that if she were free now she would have urged people to “start an act of open-ended civil disobedience”, but “I can’t, being behind bars, urge you to go to the squares because I cannot guarantee the peaceful nature and proper organisation of such events. This is why I am doing what I can under the circumstances: I announce a hunger strike in protest against false elections and illegitimacy of the parliament. I know and believe that the majority of Ukrainians will understand and support me,” Timoshenko said.
Vlasenko said Timoshenko has filed the relevant petition to the State Penitentiary Service. “She refuses to eat and will only drink water,” the lawyer said.
One of the opposition leaders, former parliament speaker Arseny Yatsenyuk spoke of attempts to distort the results of the voting.
He urged the authorities to stop violations of law by the territorial election commissions and called on the latter to announce the results as soon as possible.
Yatsenyuk said that the Central Election Commission’s data, according to which the ruling Party of Regions has received 30 percent of votes, do not match the results of parallel vote counting by the opposition.
“We are competing in ten majoritarian constituencies where opposition candidates are winning and where vote counting has been stopped for reasons we cannot understand, primarily in Kiev where vote counting has been suspended for five hours,” he said.
In his opinion, vote counting has been stopped in order to invalidate results where the opposition has won and thus “basically remove the winner from first place”.
Yatsenyuk and another opposition leader, Alexander Turchinov, called on Timoshenko to stop her hunger strike. “Her health is not worth the Party of Regions’ applause. We need her safe and sound,” Yatsenyuk said.
Timoshenko is “limited in her possibilities” and a hunger strike is “a form of protest against falsifications she sees”, Turchinov said.
However “her life and health are more important”, he stressed.