Tymoshenko wants to meet with EU official

Nov. 1, 2012 at 9:35 AM

KIEV, Ukraine, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- A lawyer for former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said she requested a meeting with an EU official following weekend parliamentary elections.

Tymoshenko's opposition Fatherland party took second place in weekend parliamentary elections that saw the Party of Regions, led by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, retain its leadership position.

European monitors described the election as undemocratic, prompting a hunger strike by Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year prison term after being convicted of corruption charges tied to a 2009 gas deal with Russia's Gazprom. Her lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, said the leader requested a meeting with her party deputies and Jan Tobinski, the EU envoy to Ukraine.

"There is no need for approval from the penitentiary service or any additional approval," said Vlasenko in a statement on Tymoshenko's website. "This is her right under current Ukrainian law."

Walburga Habsburg Douglas, a special coordinator from a European observer mission, said early this week that Ukrainians "deserved better" than weekend elections.

"One should not have to visit a prison to hear from leading political figures in the country," Douglas said.

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