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Ukraine PM files lawsuit challenging defeat in presidential election

[JURIST] Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website, in Ukrainian] filed a lawsuit [press release, in Ukrainian] on Tuesday with the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine claiming that last weekend's presidential election was corrupt. Tymoshenko alleges [Guardian report] that widespread voter fraud allowed her opponent, Viktor Yanukovych [personal website, in Ukrainian], to win the election. An initial fraud appeal to the Ukrainian Central Election Committee [official website, in Ukrainian] was rejected. Tymoshenko said that she hopes that the trial will be televised to ensure that the Ukrainian people know the truth. The likelihood of successful challenge for Tymoshenko is small. Western leaders, including US President Barack Obama, have already acknowledged [Day report] Yanukovych as the winner and even many of Tymoshenko supporters have questioned her motivation for the lawsuit.

Tymoshenko has a history of being at the center of controversial political moments in Ukraine. In March, she called for constitutional changes [JURIST report] to provide more separation between parliamentary and presidential powers. In October 2008, Tymoshenko withdrew a lawsuit [JURIST report] she had brought against Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko [official website; JURIST news archive] after he suspended a plan to hold early elections following the collapse of the country's coalition government. Before suspending the plan, Yushchenko had issued a decree abolishing a Kiev court after it tried to block [JURIST reports] his order dissolving parliament. Ukraine's leadership is divided in the wake of the 2004 Orange Revolution [Foreign Affairs backgrounder] that brought Yushchenko to power as president.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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