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Here Comes the Fifth President

It looks like Ukraine has elected its new president – Petro Poroshenko. The choice was made in the first round – the achievement that the winner can share only with Leonyd Kravchuk, the 1st president of Ukraine elected in 1991 by 62% of voters. But is everything as good as it seems? 

Read also: Ukraine Voted

Petro Poroshenko / WEF in Davos, 2014. Author: World Economic Forum, source: Flickr

Petro Poroshenko / WEF in Davos, 2014. Author: World Economic Forum, source: Flickr

26 May 2014

Losers for the Future

It happened at last! First: the presidential elections in Ukraine had only one round. Second: the winner is Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire, businessman, owner of “Roshen” Confectionery Corporation and tv channel Kanal 5.

“Vote for the top-rated candidate so that Russia would not sabotage the second round of elections” – with these words the billionaire’s team agitated Ukrainians for almost two months. It was an obvious manipulation – if Putin wanted to sabotage the elections, nothing and no one would prevent him. And the result is obvious. As this article was already in process, the Central Electoral Commission has processed about 80% of ballots. It was estimated that over 54% voted for Poroshenko. Second place goes to Yulia Tymoshenko – 13.16%, and the third – to Oleh Lyashko with 8.51%.

In fact, the “only-one-round” victory was a great surprise for Petro Poroshenko as well as for everyone else. The surveys had estimated that the businessman would gain maximum 40% of votes, while in the end he got more than a half! Mr. Poroshenko’s dream came true.

However, there are more surprises which need to be considered. The first one belongs to Yulia Tymoshenko: pre-election polls showed that she would get about 15% of votes. To clarify for the reader, in fact, these percentages were always far from reality as Tymoshenko’s electorate lives in rural areas and it is virtually impossible to calculate the outcome before an official campaign. Therefore, the candidate always gains more during the actual elections than sociologists predict.

This time Tymoshenko’s electorate failed.

It is worth noting that the former PM has already declared the elections fair and legitimate. It seems that we have to wait and see how this lady fights… Maybe for a parliament seat.

The second surprise for everyone, but especially for Ukraine’s Iron Lady again, was Oleh Lyashko, breathing down Tymoshenko’s neck with 8.51% of votes. Until 2010 Lyashko was a deputy from the BYT party (Block of Yulia Tymoshenko), namely – her former ward, supporter etc. In 2010 he was expelled from the party – the cause: a sex scandal. He managed to gain support of Sergii Liovochkin (former head of Presidential Administration in the days of Yanukovych), meaning that Liovochkin funded Lyashko project. Lyashko’s function was to steal the voice from opposition. As journalist Serhiy Leshchenko said, on 25 of May Lyashko literally took the votes away from his “godmother”. He managed to do this using populist narration, expressions and promotion. In order to understand the Lyashko phenomenon it is enough to see any video with his speech.

The last surprise was Oleh Tyahnybok. His rating is a vivid example of failure to meet society’s expectations. As I mentioned, a little more than 1% voted for him, which means that “Svoboda” party virtually has no chance to get into a new parliament.

Party of Regions has also met certain obstacles. Mykhailo Dobkin, the party’s candidate, has gained about 3%, causing problems similar to those of “Svoboda”.

Check out: Support for the Winner

Winner for the Crisis

The campaign of Mr. Poroshenko was under a double P, pointing to his initials. But people interpreted it differently: “Pozhyvemo – pobachymo” [let’s wait and see]. The Roshen-owner has won in the whole territory of Ukraine. In Lviv he scored 69%, while in Kyiv – 60%. In Donetsk and Lugansk the winner still received about 35% support.

The voting process in the latter cities met with difficulties – because of the “martial law” situation and seizure of voting station by separatists, almost 80% of citizens in the region could not fulfill their civic duty.

Still, the elections took place and, just on the margin, the whole world has recognized the results.

But let’s go back to the fifth president. We should remember that the rating of Poroshenko must be put in a special context and in a few months it will go down. We have to consider that half of the votes for the billionaire were not in his favour, but rather against someone.

The first thing Petro Poroshenko will do – he will make an agreement with oligarchs  concerning peace in the region. These events in the south-east of Ukraine are an element of bargaining among local magnates, and not Putin’s war: here we can show you what happens if you don’t let us earn… I guess Akhmetov would need 24 hours to defeat separatism in Donetsk.

Will the new president stop the crisis? It is possible. Will Poroshenko change the country? I doubt it, but let’s wait and see. Only one thing is clear – Poroshenko won a clean election, people chose him. And the same people may quickly take away their support.

Translated by Olga Iatsyna


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