Viktor Yushchenko, 2004 News
Ukranian reformist politician, was elected president on December 26, after weeks of turmoil that thrust the country into chaos. In the Nov. 21 runoff election, Prime Minister Yanukovich was reported to have taken 49.5% of the vote, and Yushchenko 46.5%. International monitors declared the elections massively fraudulent. Hundreds of thousands of Yushchenko's supporters took to the streets of the capital and other cities in protest, and what became known as the Orange Revolution (after Yushchenko's signature campaign color) continued full strength over the next two weeks. On Dec. 3, the Supreme Court invalidated the election results, calling for a new runoff to be held on Dec. 26. On Dec. 8, Parliament voted in favor of an overhaul of Ukraine's political system, amending the constitution to reform election laws and transferring some presidential powers to the Parliament. In the final presidential runoff on Dec. 26, Yushchenko won 52% of the vote to Yanukovich's 44.2%. Yanukovich resigned as prime minister on Dec. 31, 2004. Yushchenko was nearly fatally poisoned with dioxin and had to be hospitalized for several weeks shortly before the November election.