Pop star's hunger strike is off for now

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The Ukrainian pop star Ruslana Lezhychko has temporarily ended a hunger strike in support of the opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko.

Lezhychko, 26, who won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Wild Dances", announced the start of her protest on Thursday to tens of thousands of Ukrainians in Kiev's Independence Square.

Then on Saturday Ukraine's parliament symbolically declared the election invalid after growing street protests and allegations of fraud. "I have ended the hunger strike, because I see positive developments," the 26-year-old singer told Welt am Sonntag newspaper. "As soon as the situation comes to a head again, I will immediately resume the hunger strike and only drink tea and water." Ms Lezhychko said the declaration by parliament was "a victory for the people". But, she added: "It is only the first, small victory. Other more important victories must follow."

Lezhychko won the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest in Istanbul. Unlike most contenders who quickly fade, Lezhychko's album went platinum in Ukraine. After her victory, the Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovych, appointed Lezhychko his special adviser for cultural affairs, but she declined to take up the offer.