Ukraine’s Yanukovych Pledges New Strategy at Swearing In

BY Larisa Epatko  February 25, 2010 at 9:43 AM EDT

Viktor Yanukovych was sworn in as Ukraine’s president Thursday, after a Feb. 7 runoff that is still contested by Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, and promised to move the country forward on an innovative path.

“Ukraine needs a strategy of innovative movement forward and such a strategy has been worked out by our team,” he said, quoted Reuters.

Yanukovych said he would end corruption, restore political stability and help bring the country out of its financial troubles.

“I think that the state can not only be saved from a social-economic collapse, but can quickly be put on the path of accelerated development,” he said.

The country’s economy has suffered from the global downturn, and last year its gross domestic product fell 15 percent. The International Monetary Fund suspended a $16.4 billion bailout package because of lack of political consensus and reforms, according to the Financial Times.

Absent from Thursday’s ceremony was Tymoshenko, who narrowly lost in the runoff. She challenged the results in court, claiming vote fraud, but later dropped the case saying the court was controlled by Yanukovych supporters.
International monitors have called the election free and fair.

Yanukovych’s inauguration comes six years after what became known as the Orange Revolution, and an election he won was deemed rigged. He later lost in a Supreme Court-ordered revote.

He planned to begin his foreign travels as president next week with a visit to the European Union in Brussels on Monday, said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and then to Moscow on March 5 for talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, according to the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.