Tymoshenko’s Health Worsens Amid Hunger Strike Against Elections
Jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko’s health has worsened as her hunger strike in protest at the ruling party’s victory in a parliamentary election last month continued for a ninth day, her lawyer said.
“Tymoshenko’s health deteriorated sharply,” Oleksandr Plakhotnuk said today in remarks broadcast by Channel 5, a private TV station. “Today, she can hardly move.”
President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions got more votes than its rivals in an Oct. 28 ballot that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has said lacked transparency and fairness. Tymoshenko, who was handed a seven- year sentence last October for abuse of office while premier, began a hunger strike Oct. 29, saying the election was rigged.
Opposition parties have rallied in the capital, Kiev, to demand election results be annulled in 13 constituencies where they claim Yanukovych’s party or affiliated candidates won illegally. In some cases, ballot papers backing the opposition were replaced with votes for the ruling party, they said.
It was impossible to determine the winners in five constituencies and the voting there will be re-run, Volodymyr Shapoval, the Election Commission’s head, said Nov. 5.
“Tymoshenko will continue her hunger strike until the elections are recognized as falsified,” Plakhotnyuk said. She is seeking recounts rather than new elections, he said.
Yanukovych ordered Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka to investigate violations in the constituencies in question, according to a statement posted on the president’s website. Pshonka will report on his findings on Nov. 12.
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