2004-12-25

Scheinwahl in der Ukraine?

--- Morgen soll in der Ukraine die Pr�sidentschaftswahl nach den Ungregelm��igkeiten beim letzten Mal wiederholt werden. Der im Vorfeld vergiftete Juschtschenko tritt als Oppositionsf�hrer gegen den Putin-treuen Janukowitsch an -- und hat wohl gute Chancen, dieses Mal die Wahl offiziell zu gewinnen. Doch damit d�rfte in der Ukraine nichts entschieden sein, f�rchtet die New York Times: Prime Minister Viktor F. Yanukovich, the candidate declared the winner of an election ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court, has asserted that the results of Sunday's vote will be illegitimate and vowed to challenge them in court. His supporters, meanwhile, have threatened to take to the streets in their own version of the mass protests that brought Kiev and other cities to a halt in November. Demonstrations and legal challenges could prolong the dispute still further, despite a widely held belief here and abroad that victory by his opponent, Viktor A. Yushchenko, is all but inevitable. Mr. Yanukovich said in an interview late Wednesday night that new election laws aimed at limiting absentee ballots and voting at home, which Mr. Yushchenko's supporters said had been abused to rig November's vote, would disenfranchise millions of voters, including the elderly and disabled. Four dozen members of Parliament allied with Mr. Yanukovich have already filed a legal challenge with the country's Constitutional Court, which deliberated for a second day on Friday. "We are going to have new lawsuits," Mr. Yanukovich said, reprising a theme he has repeated over and over as he barnstorms around the country in what amounts to his third race against Mr. Yushchenko. "The election will be considered illegitimate, regardless of who wins." Since the Supreme Court's decision earlier this month and a subsequent compromise with President Leonid D. Kuchma and Parliament to overhaul the country's political system, Mr. Yushchenko appears well positioned to win. Opinion polls show him leading comfortably heading into Sunday's voting. Signaling an unease felt by many, though, Mr. Yushchenko has tried to sustain the energy of those who took part in the mass demonstrations against the fraudulent results that briefly declared Mr. Yanukovich the country's next president. "Each citizen must come out, so that the result is totally convincing, so that there is no temptation to cheat or disrupt the balance," he told supporters who massed again on Independence Square in Kiev on Wednesday. Mr. Yanukovich, on leave from his job as prime minister, remains defiant and, he said, confident that he has the support of a majority of Ukrainian voters, despite the accusations of ballot stuffing, which he insists never took place in the regions that provided the bulk of his support.