18 January 2010

2010 Presidential elections in Ukraine

The vote count for the 2010 Presidential elections is finished. The Central Commission of Ukraine reports the following results (more than 1 per cent) -

Vuiktor Yanukovych - 35.32.
Yuliya Tymoshenko - 25.05.
Serhiy Tihipko - 13.06.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk - 6.96.
Viktor Yushchenko - 5.45.
Petro Symonenko - 3.55.
Volodymyr Lytvyn - 2.35.
Oleh Tyahnybok - 1.43.
Anatoliy Hrytsenko - 1.20.

The voter turnout is rather low in comparison to the previous Presidential elections (first round) -

1999 - 69.82.
2004 - 74.92.
2010 - 66.72.

Viktor Yushchenko, a hero of the "Orange revolution" who lost public confidence due to his political inefficiency and Russophobia, proved himself a loser. Two days prior to the elections he stated that he did not like politics and did not consider himself a politician. I don't think this miserable failure of a President deserves any political space. Thanks for the "Orange revolution", anyway: it brought us fair elections and now the fair elections deliver us from Yushchenko. Case closed.

Well, almost closed. Yushchenko has still got his party Our Ukraine. At the moment it is not possible to predict whether the party will contest the next (most likely early) parliamentary elections. If it does not, I think that a considerable part of Yushchenko's voters will turn to Oleh Tyahnybok's radical right-wing party All-Ukrainian Union "Freedom".

Unfortunately, now Ukraine has to face a choice between two blatant populists: Viktor Yanukovych and Yuliya Tymoshenko. As Andreas Umland correctly argues, these candidates do not really differ from each other. I truly hoped, despite the surveys, that Serhiy Tihipko would win through to the second round, but it looks like unfeasible promises are still popular with the Ukrainian voters. This is ultimately frustrating.

I also hoped that Ukraine would get rid of the painfully familiar West-Centre/South-East cleavage. Well, Yanukovych won in Zakarpattia, but that is all -

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