Inspired Tymoshenko saves Ukraine's 'Orange Revolution'
Tuesday 02 October 2007
Ukraine appears to have distanced itself further from Russia as early election results last night showed strong support for the pro-Western democratic parties.
Almost single-handedly, Julia Tymoshenko, flamboyant heroine of the so-called Orange Revolution in 2004, inspired an electorate weary of broken promises and three elections in as many years to go to the polls and back efforts to solidify their country's democracy and independence.
With some 90 per cent of the ballots counted, the party of the Russian-backed Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovych led with 33 per cent, but Ms Tymoshenko's party, with 31.5 per cent, can call on the support of President Viktor Yushchenko, whose party has won 15 per cent of the vote.
There is a fragile truce currently between Ms Tymoshenko and the President, who were allies during the popular revolution three years ago but have been rivals more recently.
Taras Kuzio, a British academic and Ukraine expert, said: "Tymoshenko has saved the Orange Revolution. Ukraine has got a second chance to finish what the Orange Revolution started."
The electoral picture will be completed by two or three small parties, which will pass the 3 per cent threshold needed to enter parliament. One of those, the Communists, will side with Mr Yanukovych. The party led by the maverick Volodymyr Lytvyn will go to the highest bidder, probably the renewed Orange coalition.
Meanwhile, Mr Yanukovych said he would hold a 50,000-strong rally in the centre of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, yesterday afternoon ,supposedly to spearhead a campaign to challenge the results of Sunday's election. But only 6,000 turned up, most in buses from the Prime Minister's Donetsk stronghold in the east. The demonstrators, many of whom admitted they were being paid the equivalent of $20 (£10) to appear, disappeared after uninspiring speeches from party leaders.
EU and Western monitors said there had been some infringements in the voting but mostly the balloting had been conducted fairly and the results should be recognised as valid.
The election was an attempt to break the cycle of continuous political turmoil in Ukraine since the Orange Revolution, which brought Mr Yushchenko to power in January 2005. His dithering transformed a slim pro-Orange parliamentary majority in elections last year into a victory for his pro-Moscow arch-rival, Viktor Yanukovych.
After parliamentary elections last year, Mr Yushchenko reneged on a pre-election deal which should have seen Ms Tymoshenko, installed as premier. As the two quarrelled one of their allies defected, which allowed Mr Yanukovych to become premier. Ms Tymoshenko launched a campaign for fresh elections saying that the last thing most of the Socialist voters had wanted when they cast their ballots was government by the Party of the Regions, which blends a rapacious pseudo-capitalism with Goodfellas-style ethics.
Little separates Mr Yushchenko and Ms Tymoshenko ideologically, but his rejection of Ms Tymoshenko has been perceived as a betrayal by many of his former supporters. That was reflected in Sunday's polls and Ms Tymoshenko is now seen as the standard bearer of democracy in Ukraine.
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
- 3 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 4 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...
£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...
£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...