It is my first post here after the first round of presidential election in Ukraine. Obviously, the result was predictable. But nevertheless every Ukrainian needed time to think over in order to understand, what happened. After January, 19, at least one simple thing is clear: there will be no miracle for Ukraine. And no hope for a big change. We’ve got a choice without choice – between two well-known faces.
The results of the first round of Presidential vote in Ukraine demonstrated a confident priority of leader of the opposition Party of Regions, anti-hero of times of the 2004 Orange revolution Viktor Yanukovych, who received a support of 35,32 percent of voters.
The Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko has got only 25,05 percent (a gap between two leaders is 10,27 %, which is a big challenge for the PM).
The 7th of February will be a day of a totally hopeless choice for Ukraine. President Viktor Yushchenko had mentioned recently that both candidates are almost equal. Yes, I must confess that there is not much difference between Tymoshenko and Yanukovych. First of all, they’ve got very similar programmes, mostly based on social promises and well-written slogans (it reflects a wider problem of absence of big ideological parties in Ukraine – all the main political forces differ by names of their leaders and oligarchic sponsors). Secondly, they have almost the same origin – East of Ukraine. It is very popular these days to say that Viktor Yanukovych represents Eastern and ‘pro-Russian’ (I don’t agree with that formulation) Donetsk region, and that he has a lot of difficulties with communication in Ukrainian language (though he’s not a good speaker at all). But lot of experts prefer to forget that only a decade ago Yulia Tymoshenko had a nickname “ a gas princess from Dnipropetsovsk”, and that she learned Ukrainian only at the beginnign of 2000th.
The choice between Viktor Yushchenko (who did represent Ukrainian mentality and traditions) and Viktor Yanukovych in 2004 was really a choice between values – Western and Eastern. But the current choice is totally different. It may be said that it is a choice between importers and exporters (as there are more representatives of the biggest export-oriented enterprises are accumulated around Viktor Yanukovych, and Yulia Tymoshenko’s biggest supporters are making their profits on import operations). but it’s not a clear statement at all. I would say, it is just a fight for power between two politicians and their establishments – it is naïve to expect the revolutionary breakthrough from any of them.
Who will win?
Most probably, Yanukovych.
Is it for better, of for worse? I don’t know what to say. No comments for this moment.
Let’s count. (It will be just a ‘guesstimation’ as the percentage strongly depends on the voters’ turnout. Besides, the less turnout we will have in the second round, the better it will be for Mr. Yanukovych, as he proved to have a very stable electorate).
YANUKOVYCH – 35,32 %
TYMOSHENKO – 25,05 %
Both the pretenders are fighting now for votes of supporters of other political heavyweighters.
First of all, it is Sergiy Tigipko who (with a help of a French political technologist Jacques Segela) showed the third result – 13,05 percent. Here I would like to mention that I don’t agree with experts who call Mr. Tigipko a kingmaker. Yes, he may become very and very influential, but only after the parliamentary election. As for now, Mr. Tigipko may hardly influence his electorate to vote for this or that candidate – it’s a specifity of Ukrainian voter, and especially of a well-educated urban voter, than he makes his own decisions, some times unpredictable.
Most of Ukrainians who voted in favor of Tigipko didn’t actually support him as a politician, but were hoping for change and the renovation of Ukrainian politics. On 7th of February a big part of them will stay at home, some will vote against all, and others will divide between Yanukovych and Tymoshenko. I would suppose that at least half of supporters of Tigipko will vote for Yanukovych as they represent Eastern, Central and Southern part of Ukraine.
So, we are adding 6,5% to Yanukovych – subtotal result 41,82 percent. Let’s also give around 4% to Tymoshenko – subtototally 29,05 percent.
Arseniy Yatseniuk with a very unsuccessful advertising campaign, mostly created by Russian team of PR-professionals, has gained only 6,95 percent. Some of his voters will also demonstrate the absenteeism, but the active part will surely vote for Yulia Tymoshenko. Let’s say it will be 5%. (YANUKOVYCH – 41,82 %, TYMOSHENKO – 34,05 %.)
The voters of the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko (5,45 %) are also rather unpredictable. Taking to the account the rough fight between PM and President during last months, we may predict that part of them will not show up at the polling places. But I hope Yulia Tymoshenko may count on additional 4,5 percent. (YANUKOVYCH – 41,82 %, TYMOSHENKO – 38,55 %.)
It is for sure that the electorate of a Communist party leader Petro Symonenko (3,54%) will vote for Yanukovych. At least, 3 percent. (Subtotal result: YANUKOVYCH – 44,82 %, TYMOSHENKO – 38,55 %.)
In favor of Prime Minister may be also around 4 percent of voters, who supported other candidates – like Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine Volodymyr Lytvyn (total 2,35%), radical right politician Oleh Tyahnybok (1,43%), and ex-Minister of Defense Anatoliy Hrytsenko (1,2%).
So, the forecasting figures look like YANUKOVYCH – 44,82 %, TYMOSHENKO – 42,55 %. (The gap is 2,27 percent).
But taking to the account the probable growth of the level of absenteeism, my own style of the vote-count, very favorable to the Prime Minister, and also the fact that Ms. Tymoshenko represents the acting power, I would predict that in reality the gap may be not 2, but 3-4 percent or even more.
Anyway, both candidates are preparing to challenge the result of election in courts. And here comes the next important question:
Is there any chance to have an inauguration in March?
According to the Law on Election of the President of Ukraine, the official results of second round should be declared not later than 17 February. But the court proceedings (which will be long and difficult in case of 1-2-3-percent gap between candidates, or in case of a high level of ‘against all’ votes) may postpone this date even for a month.
The inauguration shall be held in frames of 30 days after the declaration of official results, and some influential off-going forces may try to postpone this date. The elected President shall take the oath during the special parliamentary sitting, which may also be wrecked.
So, there is a chance that the inauguration of nobody-knows-who will be held in March 2010, but as I am informed the headquarters of both candidates has received the instructions to be ready to work till the summer. Maybe, to prepare for the early parliamentary elections, who knows.
Early parliamentary election: to be or not to be?
Analyzing the current alignment of political forces in Ukraine, I am 99 percent sure there will be no early parliamentary election on 30 of May 2010, despite of all the ‘promises’ of the top-politicians.
(The day of 30 of May is widely discussed as a possible date for early parliamentary vote as is an officially established day for the local elections).
The argumentation is simple: there is no parliamentary party in Ukraine, which would be really very interested in early election in 2010. Though, it is very possible that the early parliamentary poll will take place in 2011, even in January 2011, – about one year before the scheduled time.
Why the current composition of Parliament seems to be very livable? First of all, because two biggest factions wouldn’t run the risk of losing the precious parliamentary seats.
The party of Regions is again in the most confident position. In comparison to the results of last parliamentary election of September 2007, Viktor Yanukovych slightly strengthened the ranks of his supporters – on 1 percent (from 34,37%). But it is not clear, how Ukraine will vote for the ‘Regions’ in half of the year, especially if Yanukovych win the presidential position (Ukrainians are predisposed to give less support to the ruling authorities).
Yulia Tymoshenko, to the contrary, has lost more than 5 percent – in 2007 she had 30,71% of votes. And 5 percent is about 20-27 seats in Parliament (it depends on the quantity of parties, which will overcome a 3% threshold).
All the other political parties, presented in Parliament now, including the members of so-called ruling coalition, have very illusive chances to enter the Parliament after the early vote. The block of Viktor Yushchenko Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defense has already been falling into pieces, and ex-and-current-pro-presidential MPs are seriously thinking about their political future and risk not to become MPs again in case of the early election. Communist Party understands that it will never win 27 seats in Parliament which they have now. The block of Volodymyr Lytvyn (currently having 20 seats) seems as totally not able to pass the 3% threshold, so, the Speaker would surely form a coalition with a winner of Presidential fight, whoever it will be.
Does a new coalition already exist?
The vote in favor of dismissal of the Interior Minister of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko on Thursday, 28 January, has showed that a new coalition (pro-Yanukovych one) already exists in Ukrainian Parliament.
Who voted in favor? Here is the list, ahich may be considered as a draft of a 'new coalition':
The Party of Regions faction – 171 vote (out of 172 members of the faction)
The Block of Yulia Tymoshenko faction – 1 vote (out of 153 members of the faction)
Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defense faction – 11 votes (out of 71).
I have to add that part of these MPs represent ex-Head of Presidential Secretariat Viktor Baloha. A brother of Viktor Yushchenko Petro and a godmother of President’s child Oksana Bilozir also voted in favor of Minister’s dismissal.
The Communist Party of Ukraine – 27 (out of 27).
The Block of Lytvyn – 19 (out of 20 – as the Speaker decided not to vote).
Independent MPs – 2 (out of 6).
As the proverb says, we shall see how the cat jumps.