London or Paris, but it’s still knee-deep here in Kiev. That made it rather hard for
anyone to have a real election-night party – but the Yuliya Tymoshenko team was
trying its hardest, after exit polls put her within touching distance of a
second round victory. Her opponent Viktor Yanukovych’ s strategy was to aim for
a knock-out blow in round one – building up his support base in east Ukraine to
deprive the charismatic Tymoshenko – always the best campaigner – of crucial
momentum in round two.
Can she close the gap?
It is difficult to see where Yanukovych’s extra
votes will come from. The Communist leader Petro Symonenko may get 3-4%, but is
neutralised by business sponsors close to Tymoshenko. Inna Bohoslovska will
score well in Crimea, but her real target is the Crimean local elections due in
Tymoshenko has to persuade the other Orange voters to back her. The people who voted for soon to be ex-President
Yushchenko (about 6%) and others have to think of her as the ‘lesser
evil’, and hold their nose while they cast their second votes for her.
Ex-banker Serhiy Tyhipko is predicted to win 13.5%.
His support will be decisive either way. Tymoshenko is best placed to give him
what he wants – but that may not be prime minister at such a difficult time. But
he has to be offered a post powerful enoufgh to convince his voters, Expect more
tough bargaining in the days ahead.
In Part One of Ukraine Decides, Andrew looks at what went wrong after 2004’s Orange Revolution. You can read Part One here
In Part Two of Ukraine Decides, Andrew examines why Europe should care about the Ukrainian election. You can read Part Two here
In Part Three of Ukraine Decides, Andrew told us what to watch out for on election night. You can read Part Three here here
Andrew Wilson is available for press interviews and comment on the elections. Click here for our press advisory.
The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. ECFR publications only represent the views of its individual authors.