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December 30, 2004
Yanukovych Loses Three Of Four Challenges For Incompetence

The Ukrainian Supreme Court threw out three of current PM and election loser Viktor Yanukovych's challenges to the runoff on the basis that he filed them incorrectly:

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich's dogged bid to overturn his liberal rival's victory in Ukraine's presidential election faltered on Thursday after the Supreme Court said it had thrown out all but one of his complaints. ...

Supreme Court spokeswoman Liana Shlyaposhnikova said judges had now rejected three of four complaints from Yanukovich's team concerning the organization of last Sunday's re-run of the rigged Nov. 21 poll.

"Two complaints were not considered because the proper time frame for submitting them was not respected," Shlyaposhnikova said. "One was turned down because the demands submitted by the plaintiff were not clearly drawn up."

This strictly legalistic approach from a Supreme Court once considered in the bag of Yanukovych -- when he had the favor of outgoing president Leonid Kuchma -- bodes ill for the PM. Rather than allowing itself to get creative in order to find a way to help Yanukovych, it looks at this point as if they're looking for any excuse to get him out of the way. It also doesn't help that Yanukovych appears to know little about the laws governing election challenges. He knew he would file challenges to the new runoff almost as soon as it was scheduled; how could he not have prepared for it?

Yanukovych is on his way to becoming a lonely, pitiful sight in Ukrainian politics: abandoned by his friends and allies and a reminder of the corruption that almost sentenced Ukraine to another term of corruption and isolation. He's stuck in political quicksand in that the more he struggles, the quicker his career seems to drown. Barring a last-minute miracle from the Supreme Court, which seems disinclined to offer any, he may be out as soon as this afternoon.

UPDATE: Yanikovych also lost in the formerly-loyal Central Election Commission as well:

The Central Election Commission on Thursday rejected Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's appeal of the presidential revote, saying he had not proved there were any mass violations, a commission member said.

"Evidence submitted in the claim does not prove mass violations" and could not "influence or effect the results of the vote," said commission member Marina Tsavniychuk, reading from the commission's decision.

Yanukovych can now only appeal this decision to the Supreme Court -- the same one that appears to want as much distance between themselves and Yanukovych as possible.

UPDATE: He's 0-for-4 now:

Ukraine's Supreme Court has rejected all four complaints against the conduct of the presidential election lodged by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

All Yanukovych has left is the appeal of the earlier CEC decision. After that, it's checkmate for the nonvictorious Viktor. (hat tip: King Banaian)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 30, 2004 7:59 AM

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