By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
KIEV/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)– Ukraine’s main opposition parties, known as the United Opposition, have pledged to impeach President Viktor Yanukovich after European leaders questioned the fairness of recent parliamentary elections. The announcement came at the start of an international gathering on Ukraine’s future in neighbouring Hungary.
The United Opposition, led by jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland party, has demonstrated in the capital Kiev against what they view as fraudulent elections.
They also received a moral boost from European foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele, who condemned the October 28 poll.
In a statement, the EU officials said the elections were “marred by irregularities” and “a “lack of transparency”.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden also voiced concerns about Ukraine’s electoral process when speaking with the country’s president, Viktor Yanukovich, on Tuesday, the White House said in a separate statement.
The United Opposition leader, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, says they will therefore go to parliament and demand the impeachment of president Yanukovich, the resignation of the government and release of political prisoners.
“We clearly stated that we will keep all options open in our fight – parliamentary and non-parliamentary,” he said. “We do not exclude the possibility of dissolving Ukraine’s parliament.”
Yanukovich has shrugged off international criticism of the election. His government says while there may have been “some irregularities” they it would not have altered the election outcome which officials claim was won by the president’s Party of Regions and its allies.
Despite the controversy, the United Opposition has urged jailed former Prime Minister Tymoshenko to end her over two week-hunger strike in protest of October’s election amid mounting concerns about her health.
The newly expressed concerns about the elections came while several officials from Ukraine’s government and parliament gathered at an international conference in Hungary’s capital Budapest.
Delegates were to discuss the theme: “Where is Ukraine headed in the wake of the 2012 parliamentary elections?” at the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs in Budapest.
Ukraine has come under international pressure to improve democracy and the rule of law, soon.
(BosNewsLife’s NEWS WATCH is a regular look at key general news developments from especially but not limited to (former) Communist nations and other autocratic states impacting the Church and/or compassionate professionals).