Ukraine decides: What can Tymoshenko do now?

With most of the votes counted, Viktor Yanukovych has a narrow but solid lead. Can Yuliya Tymoshenko find grounds to challenge the results?

Now the Real Votes are in…

The morning
after the night before, the story in Ukraine has changed a little, as it
so often does – but not as dramatically as it did overnight after the first
round. The streets of Kiev
are quiet – there is no sign of any popular protest at all equivalent to the
crowds of 2004. Tymoshenko was relatively restrained at her press conference
last night – she didn’t repeat her call for a rerun of the Orange Revolution that
she made last Thursday. The popular mood just isn’t there. Though Yanukovych’s
Party of the Regions now has a big ‘tent city’ outside the headquarters of the
Central Election Commission.

But Tymoshenko has
called another press conference for 1 pm Kiev
time, just before the OSCE are due to hold their conference at 3. One or two observers
from PACE have jumped the gun by saying they saw no evidence of mass fraud.

On the other
hand, the overnight count has helped Tymoshenko’s cause. With 94.7% of the vote
ratified by this morning, the gap was only 2.11% – Yanukovych leads with 48.24%,
but Tymoshenko has 46.13%. The gap actually narrowed further either side of
breakfast: when only 93% of the votes were counted, the gap had been 2.43%. But
at that rate, Tymoshenko won’t close the gap. The two slowest reporting regions
are Crimea and Luhansk in east Ukraine.

By the end
of the day, almost all the votes should be in. Turnout didn’t quite reach over
70% – it is estimated at 69.1%, which was only 2.4% up on round one, and
therefore another disappointment for Tymoshenko.

This means
that the temptation to contest the outcome is still there, but depends on
finding convincing evidence of significant fraud. The vote ‘against all’ is confirmed
at 4.4% and invalid or spoiled ballots at 1.2%. The abstainers did more than
apparently defeat Tymoshenko; if Yanukovych wins it will be with less than 50%
of the vote – which will be a less than ringing endorsement of his new presidency.

For more…

Read Andrew’s previous blog post on the first exit polls

Listen to his special podcast interview with two eminent Ukrainians, Olexiy Haran and Mykola Ryabchuk, here 

For the press…Andrew is available for interviews. Click here for our press advisory.



The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. ECFR publications only represent the views of their individual authors.


Senior Policy Fellow

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