VATICAN CITY, JAN. 12, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II gave his blessing to President-elect Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine, through the country’s ambassador to the Holy See.
The Pope and Ambassador Hryhorii Khoruzhii met Monday during a traditional New Year’s reception for the diplomatic corps accredited by the Holy See, ZENIT was informed by Ukraine’s Religious Information Service, echoing a report from the agency UNIAN.
Likewise, Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Greek-Catholic archbishop of Lviv, earlier sent a letter of congratulations to Yushchenko expressing his certainty that the latter will live up to the hopes the people have put in him.
The cardinal in his letter told Yushchenko: “I wish you perseverance in the Lord and further growth in the wisdom of steering the state.”
“Be always with God, for he has proven his kindness and love for our people,” the prelate exhorted.
Cardinal Husar supported the people who took to the streets of Kiev demanding new elections after the second round on Nov. 21. Official data proclaimed the then pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych winner, but Yushchenko’s supporters rejected the results as fraudulent.
The country’s Supreme Court annulled the results of the second round 12 days later, stating that “falsifications were committed,” which made it “impossible to determine the result.” The second electoral round was repeated Dec. 26.
Last Monday, the Central Electoral Commission declared Yushchenko the winner of Ukraine’s presidential elections with 51.9% of the vote, compared to his opponent’s 44.2%, UNIAN reported.
For Yushchenko to be invested president, the final results must be published in the official press within three days.
However, Yanukovych announced today his intention to appeal to the Supreme Court to challenge the results. To date, the court has rejected all the appeals made by Yanukovych.