Friday

18th Jan 2019

EU endorses Ukraine election result

  • Tymoshenko: has kept silent following the negative election result (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton has congratulated Ukraine on holding free and fair presidential elections, in remarks that will make it harder for the losing side to contest the result.

"The generally calm atmosphere in which the elections were conducted, the open campaign in the media and the fact that the electorate were provided with a genuine choice represent important achievements in Ukraine's democratic development," Ms Ashton said on Monday (8 February).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Her statement came at a sensitive time, as Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who lost Sunday's poll by a narrow margin of around 3 percent, pondered her next move.

Ms Tymoshenko had in the run-up to the vote accused the winner, Viktor Yanukovych, of fraud and threatened to take court action or to call her supporters to come out on the streets.

She put off her hotly-anticipated press conference from Monday to Tuesday, however, while people close to her inner circle kept Ukraine guessing with contradictory statements to media.

One contact told EUobserver that her office is conducting a parallel vote count to establish if the official result is correct. A loyalist MP, Nikola Tomenko, told press she is getting ready to concede defeat, step down as prime minister and go into opposition. Political analyst and confidante Volodymyr Fesenko said she is keen to stay on as PM.

The Ashton statement follows a resoundingly positive assessment of the conduct of the vote by a delegation of MEPs and by international monitors, the ODIHR, earlier in the day.

"This has been a well-administered and truly competitive election offering voters a clear choice," the head of the ODIHR mission, veteran Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, who last year wrote a major EU report on the Russia-Georgia war, said.

"She [Ms Tymoshenko] has lost a key resource. She can't rely on the opinion of external observers to back her side any more," an EU official told this website.

In terms of protocol, the formal telegrams of congratulations from EU leaders to Mr Yanukovych are unlikely to start floating in until he is officially named the winner by the Central Election Commission (CEC).

Under Ukrainian law, the CEC has to announce a final result no later than 17 February. Its decision can be challenged in court for a further five days after this. But unless judges overturn the result, Ukraine is to inaugurate its new president by 19 March.

If Mr Yanukovych secures victory, it will represent a moral defeat for the Orange Revolution which swept him from power five years ago.

But the EU and many Ukrainian voters are likely to be more interested in kitchen sink issues - how to stop the country's economy from collapsing and how to pay for Russian gas - than in post-Soviet power games for the time being.

Putin tests new missile to frighten Europe

Russia has tested a "hypersonic" missile capable of a nuclear strike anywhere in Europe, in what Russian president Vladimir Putin called "a great New Year's present for the country".

EU sides with protests against Bosnian Serb chief

EU diplomats in Bosnia have voiced sympathy for protesters against lawlessness in the Serb entity ruled by Russian darling Milorad Dodik, after demonstrations in Banja Luka left one police officer injured.

News in Brief

  1. Minority elects Lofven as prime minister of Sweden
  2. Putin opposes EU prospects of Serbia and Kosovo
  3. Tsipras launches campaign to ratify Macedonia deal
  4. US-EU meeting in doubt after Trump cancels plane
  5. Germany and China to sign pact on finance cooperation
  6. Labour divided on second Brexit vote plan
  7. New abortion laws pave way for Norwegian majority government
  8. Another referendum 'would take a year', Downing St says

Analysis

China's 2019 growth outlook

As China's growth seems to be slowing, some observers see the country amid what the New York Times called a "severe downturn". As they mistake China's secular deceleration with cyclical fluctuations, they miss the rapid increase in Chinese living standards.

Opinion

The Azov crisis will backfire

Vladimir Putin's nightmare of Petro Poroshenko's re-election will be even certain as Ukrainians rally around the flag. Next March's election is not just to elect a new president but also a commander-in-chief to deal with five more years of Putin.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Germany led way on EU human rights protection
  2. How to troll the European Parliament elections
  3. MEPs in Strasbourg: everywhere but the plenary
  4. Brexit delay 'reasonable', as May tries cross-party talks
  5. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  6. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  7. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift
  8. German spies to monitor far-right AfD party

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us