Ukrainian Presidential Election: Some Responses


Reports are in that Viktor Yanukovych has won 48.95% of the presidential vote, to Yulia Tymoshenko’s 45.48%.  Here’s some of what’s being said in the Western media about the result.
The Guardian says: ‘[U]nfortunately for those who like happy endings, the wrong person won.Mary Dejevsky writing in The Independent, on the other hand, applauds what looks like progress: ‘In this election there was no high-profile electioneering by Russia or by the United States. Nor did any new gas dispute with Russia rear its head […] this was an election between Ukrainians, not cold-war proxies, campaigning on Ukrainian issues.‘  The New York Times suggests that the elections, hailed by EU monitors as an ‘impressive display‘ of democracy, are a threat to the ‘Kremlin blueprint‘.  A Washington Post editorial notes: ‘The fact that Mr. Yanukovych, the apparent winner of the runoff, was Mr. Putin’s candidate in 2004 while Ms. Tymoshenko was a leader of the Orange coalition has produced understandable but false reports of the revolution’s demise.
Despite the EU monitors’ conclusion of a fair result, Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc plans to contest the results in court.  The Economist praises her result: ‘[…] given the desperate state of the Ukrainian economy which is fast running out of money to pay public wages and pensions, Ms Tymoshenko did better than might have been expected.‘  State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov, meanwhile, says it’s too soon to congratulate Yanukovych on a win. ‘I remember that in the runoff five years ago Yanukovych had better results than now, so I think it would be right to put off the question of congratulations until the inauguration,‘ he said.