Election uncertainty in Ukraine

For those already suffering from “Ukraine fatigue” – weariness brought on by the former Soviet republic’s incompetency, this latest electoral headache squashes any hope that a cure will come soon.

The signs of brewing tension were already apparent on Jan. 17, which marked Ukraine’s first presidential election since the country’s Orange Revolution. However, as no candidate secured 50 per cent of the ballots cast, a runoff date was set and the feeling of limbo continued.

While Ukraine is no stranger to political turmoil, today many fear that an unnecessarily drawn out electoral process will lead to instability – just as it did five years ago.

At that time, Ukraine was in political disarray. When word of Kremlin-backed Viktor Yanukovich’s rigged victory was confirmed in 2004, a pro-democratic coloured revolution saw through his ousting. In turn, President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko rode the Orange movement’s coattails to power. However, the reality is very different today.

Five years later and little deliverance on his 2004 election promises sealed Orange revolutionary Yushchenko’s fate on Jan. 17.

According to the Moscow Times, he won less than six per cent of the vote and as such was not permitted to run in Sunday’s race.

Yushchenko’s elimination left candidates Yanukovich and Tymoshenko vying for the top post.
While Sunday’s much anticipated runoff election was supposed to mark the conclusion of Ukrainian political drama for at least a short while, today it seems that only more problems have materialized.

Despite what appears to be a narrow victory by Yanukovich, Tymoshenko refuses to concede defeat.

As of print time, the CanWest News Service reported the results as 48.96 per cent to Yanukovich and 45.47 per cent to Tymoshenko.

On Tuesday evening in Kiev, to the surprise of few, Tymoshenko formally established her intent to appeal Sunday’s runoff election results in court.

Despite the election’s approval by international elections observers who have deemed the vote fair, Tymoshenko has demanded recounts at a number of polling stations across the country.
Ukraine’s current predicament is proof of the difference a mere five years can make.

For the international community, only one thing is for certain, fallout from this week’s election alludes to only more “Ukraine fatigue” to come.

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