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Focus on Ukraine, January 18-24, 2010

January 25, 2010
Overview of political events of the week


January 18

Chair of the Central Election Commission Volodymyr Shapoval announced that the Presidential Elections of Ukraine were held on January 17.

He said according to preliminary data the attendance of voters in the first round of the elections all across Ukraine was 66.7%. The highest attendances were registered in the Volyn oblast (74.09%), Lviv oblast (73.69%) and Ternopil oblast (73.11%). The lowest activity of voters was in Zakarpattia oblast (56.74%), Chernivtsi oblast (59.61%) and Kherson oblast (60.47%).

 

After tallying of 99.31% of the protocols submitted by voting stations, the leader in the first round of the elections is Viktor Yanukovych with 35.41% of the votes.  

Yulia Tymoshenko took second place with 24.98% of the votes. Serhiy Tihipko took third with 13.05%. Arseniy Yatsenyuk garnered 6.95% of the votes and the current president Viktor Yushchenko took fifth place with 5.46% of the votes.

 

Foreign observers gave high assessments of the first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine. The assessments of western observers and those from CIS countries practically did not differ.

Among the flaws were imperfections in election legislation, lack of agreement on the procedure for making changes to voter lists on the day of elections and large-scale voting from home in certain regions. Notwithstanding, in the opinions of observers these drawbacks did not have a decisive impact on voting results.

 

A draft resolution on setting early elections of deputies of the Kyiv City Council and the Kyiv City Mayor on May 30, 2010 was registered in the Verkhovna Rada. This is mentioned on the official website of the Verkhovna Rada. The corresponding resolution was submitted by VR Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn.

 
January 19
 

The Verkhovna Rada refused to consider amendments to the Law on Elections, which the BYuT insists on. The matter is about changes to the norms of voting at home and entering voters onto lists on the day of elections.

MP of the Party of Regions Olena Lukash stated that BYuT “is not afraid of the law on elections, rather the elections themselves”. Lukash reminded that the OSCE and PACE advised Ukraine to not amend the laws during the elections.

 

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev assigned Mikhail Zurabov to begin fulfilling his duties as Ambassador of Russia to Ukraine.

The Russian leader expressed his hope that after the final results of the presidential elections are tallied Ukraine will have a viable effective leadership oriented towards the development of constructive, amicable and all-encompassing relations with the Russian Federation.

 

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine overrode the president’s veto of the Law on Extending the Moratorium on the Sale of Agricultural Land until January 1, 2012. A total of 326 of 366 MPs that registered voted in favor of overriding the veto.

 
January 20
 

Viktor Yanukovych won the first round of the presidential elections. The final data were made public at the press center of the Central Election Commission. Yanukovych garnered 35.32% of the votes, Yulia Tymoshenko – 25.05% and Serhiy Tihipko – 13.06%. Arseniy Yatsenyuk took in 6.96% of the votes, while Viktor Yushchenko won 5.45% of the votes. The results of the rest of the runners: Petro Symonenko – 3.55%, Volodymyr Lytvyn – 2.35%, Oleh Tyahnybok – 1.43% and Anatoliy Hrytsenko – 1.2%.

Another nine candidates for the presidential office garnered less than 1% of the votes, 2.2% of the voters did not support any of the candidates.

 

President Viktor Yushchenko accepted the results of the first round of the presidential elections on January 17 and stated that he will not leave politics after the elections. The head of state thanked voters that voted for him and emphasized that the main thing for Ukraine is democracy as “only it can give a country hope for a bright future”.

 
January 22
 

Today Ukraine marks the Day of Unity. This holiday is marked every year on the day of proclamation of the Act of the Reunification of the Ukrainian National Republic and the Western Ukrainian National Republic in 1919. The Day of Unity of Ukraine was established as a national holiday by the Presidential Decree of January 21, 1999.

 

Viktor Yushchenko conferred upon the leader of OUN Stepan Bandera the Order of Hero of Ukraine. The president mentioned the signing of the corresponding decree in his speech given on the Day of Unity in the National Opera of Ukraine. The grandson of Bandera – also Stepan – accepted the order from the president.

 

The press service of the Party of Regions announced the party is demanding that the award policy of President Viktor Yushchenko be changed. It was noted in the press release “Conferral upon Stepan Bandera the Hero of Ukraine Order on the Day of Unity of Ukraine will not foster the unity of the country. This is a step to even greater dissension in the country”.

The Party of Regions also noted that the head of state on this issue should be “the president of the entire country, not of one of its parts.”

 

VR Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn closed the 5th Session of the Verkhovna Rada. He informed that in this session less than 200 of the 1,395 bills registered during this session were adopted. The MPs have are off for a week’s vacation and will reconvene on February 2. The next plenary session will be on February 10.

 

The political council of Our Ukraine decided it will not support any of the presidential candidates in the second round of the elections. Instead, the council called upon other democratic forces to merge into the Our Ukraine political force headed by President Viktor Yushchenko.

  
    


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