updated 1/6/2005 1:00:07 PM ET 2005-01-06T18:00:07

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected losing presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych’s appeal of last month’s repeat election, handing the opposition another victory in its bid for the presidency.

The three-judge panel threw out his request to invalidate voting in all of Ukraine’s 225 election districts due to massive fraud. The panel did not immediately explain its ruling.

The appeal was a bid to overturn the Central Election Commission’s unanimous refusal last week to consider a similar complaint.

Yanukovych, who has one more chance to appeal, has said openly he had little hope of success, but he vowed to fight against the Dec. 26 vote, which preliminary results show opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko winning.

Yanukovych’s campaign had said their main appeal is still to come and would be filed with the Central Election Commission only after the Central Election Commission announces the final results.

The campaign will then seek to prove that massive fraud made it impossible to determine the winner of the vote.

International observers said they saw no evidence of the mass vote-rigging that marred the Nov. 21 voting.

The commission was ready to announce the final results but election law prohibits them from declaring a president-elect while appeals are pending with the commission, press secretary Zoya Sharikova said. Yanukovych’s campaign files new appeals every day, she said.

Yushchenko, who is vacationing in the western Carpathian mountains with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, has expressed confidence that his victory will stand. Saakashvili, who also rose to power after mass protests, has become one of Yushchenko’s strongest foreign allies.

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