Books on Ukraine
Update No: 321 - (03/10/07)
Rebirth of the Orange Revolution
Ukraine's reborn Orange alliance of former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko and
President Viktor Yushchenko claim to have won a great victory after
parliamentary elections on September 30th. It does, indeed, look, like a great
victory for her, if not so much for him. Despite the similarity of their
politics, he is about as fond of Timoshenko, as Michael Heseltine of Margaret
Timoshenko's bloc and Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party had 45.1% of the vote.
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's party and his Communist and Socialist allies
had 38.9 percent. But Yakunovich's party, the Party of the Regions, won 34.2% on
its own, while the Timoshenko bloc won less, on 30.8% ( a much better
performance than expected). Meanwhile Yushchenko's party won 14.3%. Together
they have it in the bag, thanks partly to a last-minute electoral pact.
Timoshenko, who is 46, said on television she will meet Yushchenko to discuss
the formation of a Cabinet, reuniting the victors of the 2004 Orange Revolution
that overturned a rigged presidential ballot. The two leaders, who seek closer
ties to the European Union and NATO, agreed on September 27th to work together,
two years after Yushchenko, who is 53, fired Timoshenko in a dispute over asset
``We will be able to form a coalition in one or two days,'' Timoshenko said.
``It was a victory for the democratic forces, our common victory with the
The pro-Russian Yanukovych, who is 57, won elections last year and his
administration blocked many of the president's policies and stripped him of some
Yanukovych was defiant, given that his party was first. He said his party had
been given ``carte blanche'' to form the next government. ``We will ask all
parties that entered the parliament to start talks with us,'' he said in a
television interview. ``We will unite all pragmatic forces that will be able to
unite Ukraine and stimulate economic development.''
Still, the president's party will vote with Timoshenko, said Yuriy Lutsenko,
leader of Our Ukraine. ``We reiterate that we are going to team up only with
Timoshenko's alliance,'' he said at a televised press conference. Analysts
agreed the Orange allies appeared to have won the day.
Timoshenko ``has saved the Orange Revolution,'' said Taras Kuzio, research
associate at the Institute for European, Russia and Eurasian Studies at George
Washington University in Washington, after the polls were published. ``This is
an amazing continuation of the meteoric rise of the Timoshenko bloc'' if the
poll results are confirmed.
It is pretty clear that Timoshenko calls the shots and that, if she wants the
premiership again, she can have it. She may prefer to be the eminence grise,
waiting in the wings until the next presidential elections. But with the
presidency now having reduced powers, the premiership may attract her more.
The turnout was about 63 percent, said the Central Election Committee. A party
must win more than 3 percent of the vote to enter the parliament.
Timoshenko's bloc and Yushchenko's party may ``reassume control of the
government if they command 43-45 percent of the vote,'' had said Robert Legvold,
professor of political science at Columbia University in New York, before the
results. That has been achieved. ``Timoshenko will choose the prime minister and
most of the government.''
A group of candidates led by former Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, has
4.2 percent of the vote, possibly giving it a say in the formation of a
government, the latest results showed. No other parties passed the 3 percent
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the continent's
main human rights watchdog, deployed 710 election monitors across Ukraine, said
Urdur Gunnarsdottir, spokeswoman for the OSCE's Office for Democratic
Institutions and Human Rights. The OSCE has expressed concern about possible
irregularities, she said. ``There has been a lot of discussion and complaints
about voter lists,'' said Gunnarsdottir, adding that the complaints include
suggestions lists are inaccurate and people living abroad may be registered to
The EU praises the turn-out
The European Commission welcomed on October 1st the high turnout in the
Ukrainian elections as a sign of the country's commitment to reforms and said it
hoped the results would be implemented soon.
Ukraine's pro-Western opposition claimed that the vote should be seen as key to
ending divisions that have stalled market reform and exacerbated tensions
between a nationalist west and Russian-speaking east.
A spokeswoman for the EU executive told a daily news briefing the EU was
awaiting a report from the OSCE before commenting on the conduct of the polls.
However, Christiane Hohmann said Brussels welcomed the high turnout as a sign of
Ukraine's commitment to reform and added: "We hope the results of the
elections will be quickly implemented so we can continue working with a stable
government and reform in Ukraine can make headway."
The European Union had stressed that a fair and free vote in would be key to
progress in Ukraine's reform process and further talks on a new partnership
agreement with Kiev.