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Ukrainian election results suspended on appeal

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[February 17, 2010]  KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine's presidential election results giving the victory to Russia-friendly Viktor Yanukovych were suspended Wednesday pending review of his rival's appeal.

Ukraine's Administrative Court said it would rule on Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's appeal by Feb. 25, when lawmakers had planned to inaugurate Yanukovych.

Tymoshenko has refused to concede, claiming the election was tainted by fraud.

Until the ruling, the court said, it was suspending the Central Election Commission's declaration that Yanukovych had won the Feb. 7 vote by just 3.5 percentage points.

On Tuesday, Tymoshenko delivered what she said was evidence to the court, and urged a full re-count of the vote.

She asked her supporters, however, not to hold street demonstrations -- as they did in what became known as the 2004 Orange Revolution.

Those pro-Western mass protests lead to a court's overturning Yanukovych's presidential election victory that year and ordering a rerun, which was won by Tymoshenko ally Viktor Yushchenko.

International observers have deemed Ukraine's latest election free and fair, dealing a blow to Tymoshenko's chances of mounting a successful court challenge. President Barack Obama and other leaders have already congratulated Yanukovych.

Anna German, the vice chairwoman of Yanukovych's Party of Regions, dismissed the court deliberations as a "mere formality."

"These proceedings can't overturn the obvious: The majority of Ukrainians have voted for Yanukovych," she said. "The entire world has recognized Yanukovych's victory."

Yanukovych campaigned on promises to improve ties with Russia, which became strained as pro-Western Yushchenko sought NATO and EU membership for Ukraine.

[Associated Press; By YURAS KARMANAU]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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