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Change in Ukraine

  • February 10th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

ukraine-vote.jpgViktor Yanukovych, the man made President in a discredited 2004 election, then unseated by the “Orange revolution”, this time is positioned for a clear victory in Ukraine.

Observers from the Organisation for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other agencies passed the conduct of this week’s election as fair.

Yanukovych, 59, closest to Moscow and the Russian ethnic sector in Ukraine, has emerged 3% ahead of his opponent in the run-off vote for President, the Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko – with fairly high voter turnout, around 70%, in many parts of the country.

Ms Tymoshenko has spoken of a court challenge over reports of malpractice in the voting, without going so far as to act on an earlier threat to call out demonstrations if dissatisfied with the result.

With the country in the grip of recession, the Prime Minister, on the “European” side of the country’s political divide, eased up on proposals to join the EU or NATO; Yanuvovych for his part moved to moderate ground on relations with Russia, while the Kremlin withheld comment on the Ukrainian election campaign.

The President elected on the wave of euphoria produced by the “Orange” popular uprising, Viktor Yushchenko, the most Western-leaning candidate, was defeated in the first round of voting for the Presidency this time.

Alarm in Moscow over the moves by Ukraine towards affiliation with the West has been coupled with disputes over the price of oil — and temporary interruptions of Winter energy supplies pumped through the Ukraine to the EU.

(See EUAustralia Online: “EU sour about gas crisis” 26.1.09, and 4,9,16, 21.1.09; “Summit 2: How Russia fits Europe’s energy plan” 21.10.06).

The Russian government has also been concerned about renewal of the agreement letting it maintain its Black Sea naval base in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol.

Reference

Claire Suddath, “Top 10 Political Sequels: Viktor Tanukovych”, Time, 8.2.10. www.time.com/... (9.2.10).

Kiev Ukraine News Blog, Home, 31.10.09. bliog.kiev.info/… (9.2.10).

“Tymoskenko ‘to argue’ Ukraine vote”, Aljazeera.net, 9.2.10. http://english.aljazeera.net/… (9.2.10).

Picture

Yanukovych and Tymoshenko, (blog.kievukraine).

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