Kiev: Viktor Yanukovych was inaugurated as Ukraine's President on Thursday, five years after his first bid failed amid massive protests over vote fraud.
Yanukovych took the oath of office in the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian Parliament that has been the scene of intense manoeuvring over the future of his rival Yulia Tymoshenko, who aims to stay on as prime minister.
Yanukovych narrowly defeated Tymoshenko in Presidential Election on February 07. Tymoshenko alleges vote fraud, but she has dropped a court case on the claims.
Tymoshenko led the 2004 Orange Revolution protests that paved the way for a rerun of a Presidential Election in which Yanukovych had been declared winner. He lost the repeated vote to Viktor Yushchenko.
Yanukovych enters office with a shaky mandate, inheriting an economy crippled by the global financial crisis and a nation whose political loyalties are deeply divided.
He has broad support in the Russian-speaking east of the country, but in the Ukrainian-speaking west, he lost in virtually every region to Tymoshenko.
Her refusal to concede defeat and step down from the premiership threatens to prolong the kind of political wrangling that has paralyzed Ukraine's government for several years, deepening the financial crisis that shrank the economy by 15 percent last year.
First Published: Thursday, February 25, 2010, 15:55