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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 January, 2005, 01:42 GMT
Judges confirm Yushchenko victory
Viktor Yushchenko
Viktor Yushchenko's inauguration is expected at the weekend
Ukraine's Supreme Court has confirmed Viktor Yushchenko as winner of the country's disputed presidential poll.

The court dismissed a final appeal by his defeated rival, PM Viktor Yanukovych, who challenged the result of a re-run election on 26 December.

Supporters of Mr Yushchenko had forced a re-run of November's election, alleging vote-rigging by Mr Yanukovych.

The decision clears the way for Mr Yushchenko to be inaugurated as president after a series of delays.

Interfax news agency says his swearing-in is due to take place on Sunday.

Deliberations at Ukraine's Supreme Court continued until 0230 (0030 GMT), when chief presiding justice Anatoly Yarema announced that the court was to uphold Mr Yushchenko's election victory.

"The decision is final and cannot be appealed," Mr Yarema said.


Mr Yushchenko's inauguration is now widely expected to take place this weekend.

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych
Viktor Yanukovych kept challenging the election result
The announcement came after Ukraine's newspapers printed early editions carrying official results of the election, in which Mr Yushchenko beat his rival by eight percentage points.

Mr Yushchenko's victory celebrations had been put on hold by dogged appeals from his rival, who alleged widespread vote-rigging and electoral fraud.

The election had been re-run after similar appeals from Mr Yushchenko, who rallied thousands of supporters in central Kiev in the wake of the original November poll.

Supporters who remained in the city awaiting the court's decision were jubilant at the judgement.

"Now nobody can steal victory from us," Bohdan Yakubchyk, 25, told the Associated Press.

Yuschenko's inauguration could be within days


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