Yushchenko Supporters Told to Block Building; Yanukovych Plans to Return

Article excerpt

Byline: Natalia A. Feduschak, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

KIEV - Viktor Yushchenko, the winner in Ukraine's presidential election, urged tens of thousands of celebrating supporters last night to blockade the Cabinet building to ensure that the former prime minister did not enter the premises and attempt to conduct government business.

"I ask everyone, especially the people in the tent camp, to strengthen the blockade of the government," Mr. Yushchenko told his supporters, many of whom have camped in the bitter cold since the Nov. 21 election, which later was voided by the Supreme Court.

The call came amid reports that the losing candidate, former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, planned to enter the government building for a meeting today.

Mr. Yanukovych has not been inside since parliament technically ousted him in a no-confidence vote last month amid a furor over vote fraud.

"We live in a different world than we lived in even a month ago," Mr. Yushchenko said as eager supporters listened intently and held up balloons and flags of orange to celebrate Sunday's victory in the rerun of the Nov. 21 election.

"There is a new place for Ukraine on the world map," he said.

With 100 percent of the votes counted, Ukraine's Central Elections Commission said Mr. Yushchenko defeated Mr. Yanukovych, the Moscow-backed candidate, 51.99 percent to 44.19 percent.

Mr. Yanukovych is expected to challenge the results in courts, although many politicians are preparing for a Yushchenko presidency.

Plans are under way to hold an inauguration, likely on Jan. 14.

Mr. Yushchenko invited supporters to attend a public inauguration that will be held on Independence Square, known as the Maidan.

Other political supporters appeared on stage with Mr. Yushchenko, whose face still bears the marks of dioxin poisoning.

After the opposition leader's speech, supporters sang Ukraine's national anthem, lit candles and watched a fireworks display.

Parliament Speaker Volo- dymyr Lytvyn told a group of former lawmakers who observed the election as part of a delegation from the nonprofit U.S.-Ukraine Foundation that Mr. Yanukovych's right to appeal the elections would be respected.

With nearly an eight-percentage point margin between the candidates, however, he said, "There won't be a third round of elections in Ukraine. …