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Focus on Ukraine, February 8-14, 2010

February 15, 2010

Overview of political events of the week

February 8

The evening and following day of the elections the Central Election Commission had processed 99.5% of the electronic vote count. According to CEC statistics, the candidate from the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych won 49% of the votes.
His opponent and current premier Yulia Tymoshenko won more than 45% of the votes. Approximately 4.5% of voters did not support either candidate. CEC member Mykhailo Okhendovskiy forecasts that 100% of the electronic vote count will be processed by Tuesday.

Vice Speaker of the VR Mykola Tomenko announced that the BYuT is prepared to go into the opposition, but only after the final voting results are made public. He also noted that for the first time in the history of the presidential elections the president-elect was supported by a minority of voters and a lower number of regions. As a reminder, Viktor Yanukovych was supported by 9 oblasts and Sevastopol, while Tymoshenko had the support of voters in 16 oblasts and Kyiv.

Head of the European Parliament Observer Mission Pavel Koval informed that observers of the European Parliament did not register widespread violations in the second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine.

Head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Observer Mission Matyas Eorsi informed that the representatives of the PACE observer mission and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly concluded that the candidates for president of Ukraine must acknowledge the results of the elections as they complied with international standards.

President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and head of the OSCE Mission to Ukraine Joao Soares said the second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine were held in compliance with the standards of democratic elections.
At the same time, imperfect legislative law led to certain problems during the election process and this should become the field of activity for the next Ukrainian government.
Specifically, Soares emphasized that changing election legislation in between rounds as the case was prior to the second round of elections is not right.

Chairman of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine Oleksandr Chernenko said the CVU did not register gross violations or systemic fraud that could have distorted the people’s will in the Presidential Elections in Ukraine.
He informed that 2,000 CVU activists observed the second round of the elections in 20 oblasts of Ukraine.
CVU observers noted that repeat elections were held in a more intense atmosphere than the first round of the elections.
Specifically, the CVU registered a high level of conflict in the committee’s work, blatant provocations by the candidates’ headquarters in an attempt to sabotage the elections and the use of technologies aimed at mobilizing voters, for instance, transporting voters to polling stations and dragging out the tallying of election results.

February 9

Members of the BYuT faction will challenge the results of the presidential elections. Vice chair of the BYuT faction Olena Shustik stated the faction will demand a recount of votes in separate districts and if the court hands down a positive ruling it will have grounds to question the results of the elections.

Former President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma said in an interview for Corriere della Sera that he is glad his team will return to power in Ukraine.
He said the last five years in Ukraine were for naught and the head of state Viktor Yushchenko, who came to power as a result of the Orange Revolution, drove the country into the ground during his term in office.
Assessing the future relations between the new president and the Verkhovna Rada, Kuchma said that not a single MP wants to see the dissolution of the parliament, which is why a coalition capable of stabilizing the situation in the country must be formed.

Head of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek congratulated Ukraine on the holding of free and fair elections. He said that generally speaking the expression of the will of the people was democratic, even with slight violation of the electoral process. Buzek called on all political forces in the country to work together and reform the country’s socio-economic system.

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev congratulated the leader of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych on his victory in Ukraine’s presidential elections.
As the press service of the Russian president informed, Medvedev congratulated Yanukovych in a phone conversation. The head of the Russian Federation congratulated Yanukovych on completing the electoral process that was highly appraised by international observers.

Head of the Lytvyn Bloc faction Ihor Sharov said his bloc is prepared to enter into a coalition with the Party of Regions. He said his political force and all of Ukrainian society is categorically opposed to snap parliamentary elections. At the same time, Sharov underscored that his bloc has yet to receive proposals on the formation of a new coalition between the Party of Regions, the OU-PSD and the Lytvyn Bloc.

Assistant Chair of the BYuT Andriy Kozhemyakin told journalists that his party will never enter a coalition with the Party of Regions and will go into opposition if a new coalition between the Party of Regions, the OU-PSD and the Lytvyn Bloc is formed.

February 10

The CEC has process 100% of the electronic voting reports. 48.95% of the people voted for Viktor Yanukovych, while 45.47% voted for Yulia Tymoshenko. 4.36% did not support any of the candidates. This is 1.113 million voters. Yanukovych won in 11 oblasts, while Tymoshenko won in 17 oblasts.

The parliament adopted the Law “On the Agenda of the Verkhnovna Rada”, but failed to support the Law “On Increasing Social Assistance to Needy Families” proposed by the Party of Regions.
The PoR did not vote for this social law. The BYuT stated that the PoR backed down from its social promises as soon as its leader was announced the winner of the presidential elections.
Representative of the PoR Mykhailo Papiyev, the drafter of the law, explained that the PoR did not vote for the law in its second reading as the deputy minister of finance representing the government of Yulia Tymoshenko had voiced objections.

Leader of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych called on Premier Yulia Tymoshenko to step down from her post and go into the opposition.
At the same time, Yanukovych appealed to members of the coalition calling on them to declare the suspension of the activity of the coalition so that he can enter into talks with different factions on the formation of a new government.

February 11

Deputy Head of the Party of Regions Hanna Herman announced that the PoR faction will vote in favor of a bill on raising social assistance to needy families that was rejected earlier this week.
She explained that the bill could not be passed because many amendments were submitted by labor unions. Herman assured that once these amendments are reworked the law will be passed.

Yulia Tymoshenko appeared in public for the first time following the second round of the presidential elections.
Opening the meeting of the government she evaded the subject of the elections, though managed to criticize the actions of the Party of Regions in the Verkhovna Rada on increasing social standards that the PoR demanded. Tymoshenko also spoke about preparations for spring field work and the problems in the mining sector.

Serhiy Paskhalov, head of the Dnipropetrovsk Election Headquarters of presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, said international observers failed to register massive violations in the voting process.
He noted that only six foreign observers worked at six electoral districts (469 polling stations) in Dnipropetrovsk. So, even if they wanted to observers could not physically register any mass violations.

Deputy Head of the Party of Regions Boris Kolesnikov informed that his party has drafted a law granting oblast councils the right to permit teaching children upon the request of their parents all school subjects in Russian in any general education school with mandatory learning of the official state language.
The PoR stated it will push its initiative through schools and the courts as it does not yet have 300 voices in the Verkhovna Rada supporting the granting Russian the status of a second state language.

The members of parliament called on the international community to amend the guarantee of Ukraine as a country that proclaimed its non-nuclear status in 1994. The corresponding appeal was adopted by a majority of votes (338) of different parties. The parliament appealed to lawmaking bodies in Great Britain, the U.S., Russia and China to support this initiative.

World leaders have begun sending their salutations to Viktor Yanukovych for his victory in the presidential elections in Ukraine. EU President Herman van Rompuy sent a congratulatory letter to the Ukrainian president-elect. U.S. President Barak Obama, who according to the PoR press service gave a high assessment of the development of democracy in Ukraine, congratulated Yanukovych by phone. President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, German President Herst Keller and Polish President Lech Kaczinski also congratulated Ukraine’s president-elect.
The press service of the Georgian president informed that Mikhail Saakashvili greeted Viktor Yanukovych on his victory by phone.

February 12

CEC Deputy Chair Andriy Magera informed that although the electoral commission has received all 225 preliminary vote registers, it cannot name the date the official results of the presidential elections will be announced.
He said the CEC must first receive all court rulings of complaints filed in the regions. Magera also noted that deeming the results of voting in certain districts invalid will not have an impact on the overall election results.

Head of Yulia Tymoshenko’s HQ Oleksandr Turchynov said in a video interview that the BYuT is demanding a vote recount at 1,200 voting stations. He said the BYuT has already proven vote rigging on the part of the headquarters of Viktor Yanukovych. This gives grounds to allege systemic and gross violations. Turchynov said it is, first and foremost, Yanukovych that needs a vote recount in order to convince the Ukrainian electorate that he is the legitimate president.

The Party of Regions is receiving official congratulations on the victory of its leader Viktor Yanukovych from the leaders of European states.
Yanukovych received congratulatory letters on his victory in the presidential elections from President of Belarus Aleksander Lukashenka, President of Slovakia Ivan Gasparovic, President of Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov, Federal President of Austria Heinz Fischer and President of Finland Tarja Halonen.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen congratulated Viktor Yanukovych on his victory. He stressed that the elections in Ukraine were free, fair an democratic, as well as a good example for the region.
The NATO secretary general assured that the Alliance will obligate itself to enhance strategic partnership with Ukraine and render assistance in conducting reforms where necessary.

First Vice Premier Oleksandr Turchynov is confident there are no grounds for the dissolution of the parliament.
He emphasized that the government is working within the bounds of the Constitution and should step down on its own initiative only in the event of a change in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
He said at the moment there are no grounds for the government to step down at its own volition. As a reminder, the day before Viktor Yanukovych called on Yulia Tymoshenko to tender her resignation.

The organizers of the National Exit Poll 2010 announced at a press conference that according to the final results of the presidential elections the gap in votes between candidates Viktor Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko is 2.7%. Yanukovych won 48.4% of the votes, Tymoshenko – 45.7%. 5.7% did not support either of the candidates. Sociologists say the majority of them are either young or people with higher education.

Serhiy Tihipko said in an interview for the Segodnya newspaper that he agreed to accept a proposal to become Ukraine’s new premier should president-elect Viktor Yanukovych offer him the post. As Tihipko noted, he will not put forth any special requirements on condition that he is given the opportunity to conduct reforms.

February 13

Leader of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych said parliamentary elections will not be held if a constructive coalition is formed in the parliament.
He said the negotiating process on forming such a majority will begin as early as next week. He also informed the current premier will most definitely be replaced. Yanukovych already has a candidate in mind, but did not disclose the name.

Viktor Yanukovych promised Russia in an interview on the Russian TV program Vesti Nedeli promised that he will reinstate the amicable historic format of Russian-Ukrainian relations. Yanukovych assured official Moscow that the Russian Black Sea Fleet may remain stationed in Crimea after 2017.

The format of relations with NATO during the tenure of President Yanukovych will not be expanded. If questions arise about accession to the Alliance, the people will decide in a referendum, Yanukovych assured.

He also promised to take up the issue of the status of the Russian language, which the new leadership plans to introduce into business, education, medicine and the judiciary through a corresponding law.

As for the decrees of President Viktor Yushchenko regarding the national hero Stepan Bandera and warriors of the OUN-UPA, Yanukovych promised he would not allow history to be rewritten and the conferral of contemporary awards to the deceased.

February 14

The Central Election Commission official announced the leader of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych the newly elected president of Ukraine. According to the results of the CEC, 48.95% (12,481,266) of the votes went to Yanukovych, while 45.47% (11,593,357) went to Tymoshenko. 4.36% (1,113,051) did not support any of the candidates.

Volodymyr Pylypenko, the proxy of Yulia Tymoshenko, said her election headquarters plans to challenge the results of the presidential elections in the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine. He said the announcement of the election results of the CEC is illegitimate as the lawsuits filed with the courts regarding the voting and tallying of results in separate districts had not been reviewed at the moment the announcement was made public.

First Deputy VR Speaker Oleksandr Lavrynovych said the inauguration of Viktor Yanukovych as the new president of Ukraine may be held on February 22-26. He said this timeframe takes into account the period of time for challenging the results of the elections in the Supreme Administrative Court.



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