Ukrainian Parliament: Presidential election was invalid

Ukrainian parliament, in a vote providing a moral boost for opposition supporters massed in the capital, says the disputed presidential poll handing victory to Prime Minister &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Viktor Yanukovich was invalid.

Parliament has no legal authority to annul the election results, but with vast crowds backing liberal challenger Viktor Yushchenko's call for a new vote, the declaration carries political weight.

It comes two days ahead of a &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Supreme Court case examining Yuschenko's complaints of poll irregularities and as European Union president the Netherlands said the bloc wanted to see new elections.

The chamber passed by a large majority a resolution on Saturday proclaiming the November 21 poll was invalid, subject to many irregularities and failing to reflect voters' intentions, informs Reuters.

According to the Voice of America, Mr Yushchenko says there was widespread cheating in the election. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Union and the United States also have criticized the vote. But Russian observers are dismissing the criticism. Russian President &to=http:// 21/96/382/14169_assassination.html ' target=_blank>Vladimir Putin has praised the election as open and honest.

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