Inspired Tymoshenko saves Ukraine's 'Orange Revolution'

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower