Sunday

22nd May 2022

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.

The West-oriented parties of Yulia Tymoshenko and president Viktor Yushchenko took 33 percent and 15 percent of votes respectively in Sunday's elections, according to preliminary results published by Unian news agency on Monday (1 October).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Mr Yanukovych's Party of the Regions got 31 percent, the agency said with 58 percent of votes counted.

Mr Yushchenko on TV last week kissed Ms Tymoshenko's hand and suggested they will form a coalition to install her as prime minister, in a throwback to 2004 when the pair ousted the country's post-Soviet regime in the Orange Revolution.

"Tomorrow morning I will call on the president to start the formation of the coalition and government," she said on Sunday night, Ukrainian agency Unian reports.

Mr Yanukovych, the current prime minister, is unlikely to step aside quietly however, with thousands of his supporters due to attend a rally in Kiev on Monday afternoon and a possibility the election result could be challenged on grounds of voting irregularities.

A 710-strong OSCE monitoring mission will say ahead of the rally if the poll was "free and fair" but press reports already indicate there were problems with regional voting lists, which saw ballot papers issued for long-dead citizens and legitimate names missing from registers.

The election result reflects the country's deep divide, with most Ukrainian-speakers in the west sharing the "Orange" vision of EU and NATO integration and with the predominantly Russian speakers in the east seeing their future in restoring close relations with Moscow.

The snap September 30 poll was called after political infighting between the Yushchenko and Yanukovych camps almost ended in violence on the streets this May.

The last time Russia-critical Ms Tymoshenko was in power saw Moscow cut off Ukraine's gas in a price row which also impacted EU energy security - Ukraine transits 80 percent of Russia's gas exports to the European Union.

"The [2008] gas price will be decided in negotiations. Everything will depend on the composition of the government," the Russian ambassador to Ukraine, Viktor Chernomyrdin, told Russian media ahead of Sunday's vote. The diplomat later backtracked, saying Moscow will work with any legitimate government in Kiev.

Meanwhile, EU leaders at a Ukraine summit two weeks' back warned that progress on a new bilateral agreement could stall if the election does not produce a stable government that can push through economic and administrative reforms.

The EU has declined to give Mr Yushchenko any future EU membership pledge but is currently negotiating a new "Enhanced Agreement" with Kiev which could end up remodelling the country's economy along European single market lines.

"There will be emotions, but these will be just episodes. I'm sure that the political community will find mutual understanding," president Yushchenko said after the vote, AP writes.

Election results in Ukraine prolong uncertainty

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. Meanwhile, Ukraine's president has called for an urgent probe into the vote.

EU states warn of looming food-price crisis

Prices of cereals, fertilisers, and oilseed have shot up drastically in several European markets due to Russia's war on Ukraine, prompting some member states to seek EU aid.

EU plans to jointly invest in defence capabilities

EU countries need to refill stockpiles after several member states supplied weapons to Ukraine in its fight with Russia, and to phase out existing Soviet-era weapons systems, and reinforce air defence.

UK and EU edge closer to trade war over Northern Ireland

The EU warning comes after the UK government escalated the conflict over the Northern Ireland protocol — a set of post-Brexit trade rules — by saying it will unilaterally pass a law to change the EU-UK trade treaty.

Podcast

Ultraconservatives in Putin's shadow

Vladimir Putin's Ukraine war has threatened to be a public relations disaster for hard-right gatherings like the Conservative Political Action Conference — now meeting in Budapest and featuring Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, who remains highly-cordial with the Kremlin.

Opinion

Will 'Putin's Nato' follow Warsaw Pact into obscurity?

Valdimir Putin's equivalent to Nato — the Collective Security Treaty Organization of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Armenia, Tajikistan, and Belarus — is convening in Moscow next week to give cover that Russia is not alone in its war against Ukraine.

News in Brief

  1. UK to send 'hundreds' of migrants to Rwanda each year
  2. Norwegian knife attacks were domestic dispute
  3. Sweden hits back at Turkey's 'disinformation' in Nato bid
  4. Germany's Schröder gives up one of two Russia jobs
  5. G7 countries pledge €18bn in financial aid for Ukraine
  6. Italian unions strike in protest over military aid for Ukraine
  7. Russia cuts gas supply to Finland
  8. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. What Europe still needs to do to save its bees
  2. Remembering Falcone: How Italy almost became a narco-state
  3. Economic worries and Hungary on the spot Next WEEK
  4. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  5. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  6. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  7. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  8. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us