Ukrainian P.M. denies election rigging

Nov. 7, 2012 at 2:48 PM
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KIEV, Ukraine, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, whose Party of Regions won in the country's parliamentary elections, denies allegations the voting was rigged.

The country's Oct. 28 elections, in which half the Parliament's 450 deputies were elected according to party lists and the other 225 seats were awarded on a winner-takes-all basis, have been widely contested by opposition members, RIA Novosti reported.

And, as of Tuesday, the Ukrainian Central Election Commission had only counted 99.7 percent of the ballots cast.

On Wednesday, Azarov told Cabinet ministers his party, which gained almost 30 percent of the party-list vote, had nothing to do with the alleged voting fraud.

"The government has nothing to do with the work of electoral commissions and election results," Azarov said.

Azarov also praised the elections as free and fair, saying "neither democratic norms nor legal democratic procedures were in fact violated."

However, the race has been widely criticized by international observers, over what they called the abuse of administrative resources, a lack of media freedom during the campaign season, and the opaque campaign finances of the Party of Regions and pro-government "independent" candidates.

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