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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 49,537 41,380 37,600 55
GNI per capita
 US $ 970 770 720 137
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Ukraine

Update No: 349 - (20/01/10)

A run-off for Ukraine
Sometimes a whole nation is in suspense. That is the state of Ukraine today.

Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych and Premier Yulia Tymoshenko, who topped the first-round presidential election in early January, are prepared to face each other in a run-off vote on February 7, after it became clear that incumbent Viktor Yushchenko had been eliminated.

Yanukovych, aged 59, won around 31% of the vote, not enough for an outright victory. Timoshenko, who had around 27%, expects to meet Yanukovych in the February 7th second round. Incumbent Viktor Yushchenko predictably lost his bid for re-election with 6%.

The end of a strange dream?
The election, held five years after Yushchenko beat Moscow- backed Yanukovych to office during the Orange Revolution, ends his dream, at any rate soon, of leading Ukraine into the European Union and the NATO. Still, the legacy of the Orange Revolution may trip up Yanukovych again as voters turn to Tymoshenko, who stood with Yushchenko during the massive street demonstrations.

“Tymoshenko has the chance to win the runoff as people who supported candidates linked to the Orange Revolution such as incumbent Viktor Yushchenko are potential voters for her,” said Yuriy Yakymenko, an analyst at Kiev-based Razumkov Center for Economic and Political Studies.

Predictions and portents
The rivalry between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko resulted in delayed disbursement of $3.9 billion from the IMF until after the elections, thus boosting the importance of renewed relations with the Fund as soon as possible. This could happen more quickly if Tymoshenko wins.

A victory by Yulia Tymoshenko in the run-off would mean a faster resumption of the IMF's austerity programme. But whoever comes out ahead will be forced to stick to the plan because of the country's heavy debts and the steep economic contraction of 2009.

A win by Viktor Yanukovych, meanwhile, is more likely to lead to a weaker currency. A strong showing for Yanukovych, who has the support of the metals exporters that represent much of the country's economy, could bring about a weaker Ukrainian hryvnia that would increase the miners' and steelmakers' profit margins.

For her part, Tymoshenko in the past has supported a strong currency. Both are promising reforms long delayed by political divisions as well as renewed relations with the IMF, which were cut off when Tymoshenko's former ally, the president, agreed to public expenditure cuts.

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