Monday

24th Jan 2022

Election results in Ukraine prolong uncertainty

  • The elections are far from guaranteeing a clear-cut solution to the country's unstable political scene (Photo: EUobserver)

Ukraine is on the verge of further political turmoil as Sunday's snap parliamentary elections ended in tight results between the country's two main rivals, pro-western candidate Yulia Tymoshenko and Moscow-friendly Viktor Yanukovych.

With 94.01 percent of votes counted, outgoing prime minister Viktor Yanukovych's Party of the Regions has the lead with 34.2 percent of the votes.

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The West-oriented Yulia Tymoshenko and president Viktor Yushchenko - former allies during the 2004 Orange Revolution, which has ousted the country's post-Soviet regime - got 30.8 and 14.27 percent of votes respectively.

But the elections - the third the country has held in three years - are far from guaranteeing a clear-cut solution to the country's unstable political scene, as both camps claimed victory on Monday.

"Everything will work out. In a matter of weeks we will hold our first government news conference", Ms Tymoshenko was cited as saying on Monday afternoon (1 October).

The outgoing prime-minister, Mr Yanukovych, said "the Orange [forces] rushed to conclusions and are trying to divide the country with their rushed announcements".

"This significant support from the Ukrainian people...gives carte blanche to the Party of Regions to form a new, successful government," he added, the BBC reports.

President Yushchenko, for his part, has ordered an "immediate" police probe into the vote count in the traditionally pro-Russian strongholds of Mr Yanukovych, arguing results were being released too slowly.

"I am concerned at the delayed vote count in Ukraine's eastern and southern regions, namely in Donetsk, Lugansk and Odessa regions and in the autonomous republic of Crimea" he said in a televised address.

Election 'transparent and fair'

However, according to a 710-strong monitoring team from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the elections were conducted in "an open and competitive environment" and "mostly in line with international commitments and standards".

"Voters had a diverse choice of candidates and parties and the fundamental freedoms of assembly and expression were respected", the OSCE's statement says, however, it continues to point out that there were problems connected to voter lists.

"Recent amendments to the election law adopted as a part of a compromise to end the political crisis, impacted negatively on the election process", the statement concludes.

The European Union has called on political leaders to put an end to the long-running power struggle and instead "put in place a new, stable government and continuing necessary domestic reforms".

"This would also give a positive signal to other countries in the region", EU chief diplomat Javier Solana said on Monday.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has similarly stressed that Ukraine should "establish a new government that could resume the reform process very soon and meet the high expectations of the Ukrainian people".

Pro-Western parties ahead in Ukraine elections

(Updated 11:15 CET) Pro-western candidate Yulia Tymoshenko is heading for a narrow victory in Ukraine's elections, but Russia-friendly Viktor Yanukovych is behind by only a small margin amid risk of political turmoil that could impact the country's EU and Russia relations.

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