Ukraine decides: Still waiting for Yuliya

Not giving up, but not storming the barricades: all eyes remain on Tymoshenko’s next move

Tymoshenko is not giving up, but she is not storming the barricades either. She
has made no major speech in public, but several papers have reported her saying
she will never accept Yanukovych’s victory, and that she is preparing a legal
challenge to the vote.

What isn’t clear is what the nature of any legal case will be – which doesn’t help unpick what she might or might not be up to. Some have
talked of demanding a total recount; some of rerunning the vote as a ‘third
round’, as in 2004. One Tymoshenko
MP, Andriy Shkil, has said that what is “under question is the validity of votes
at over 1,000 polling stations,” which implies a partial check or

But the detailed figures on the
regional breakdown of the vote now available from the Central Election
Commission ( show that the
election was predictably polarised, as Ukrainian elections nearly always are,
but not as polarised as in 2004. Compared to the vote for her party in the
parliamentary elections in 2007, Tymoshenko’s vote was up in some parts of the
south-east, where Yanukovych’s party controls the local levers of power. In
Crimea she won 17.3%, compared to 6.9% in 2007. So any legal case will have to
be highly specific.

Incidentally, one exit poll
showed that Serhiy Tihipko would have won easily if he had won thorough to the
second round, beating Tymoshenko by 43% to 27% and Yanukovych by 43% to

Things are shifting in
parliament, where they could be an attempt to unseat Tymoshenko as PM even
before the official result is announced. The Party of Regions is hinting it has
the necessary partners to form a new coalition. The two small parties (the
Communists and Lytvyn Block) can probably be taken for granted. Tymoshenko’s own
party is presumably not keen, though plenty of businessmen within it will jump
ship soon enough if Yanukovych becomes president. This gives the whip hand to
Our Ukraine, which used to be the party of President Yushchenko – despite his
disastrous vote in the elections – but has now split into many factions.
Yushchenko could well have achieved his final ambition and stopped Tymoshenko
winning the presidency, though whether the history books will remember him
kindly for this is an open

Andrew has been blogging throughout the Ukrainian elections. Catch the most recent update here

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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