05/10/2007 - Results
After waiting for several days during which time the Orange forces and the outgoing coalition led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich fought it out neck and neck, the results of the early general elections which took place on 30th September in the Ukraine were finally published on 5th October. Viktor Yanukovich's Regions' Party came out ahead with 34.37% of the vote (+2.18 points in comparison with the previous election on 26th March 2006), then came the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc which achieved an incredible breakthrough winning 30.71% of the vote (+8.46 points). In third place came Our Ukraine-Self-Defence, the party led by the President of the Republic, Viktor Yushenko with 14.15% of the vote (+0.22 point). Two other parties will be represented in the Verkhovna Rada, the only chamber in Parliament: the Communist Party led by Petro Simonenko which won 5.39% of the vote (+1.72 point) and the Vladimir Litvin Block which won 3.96% of the vote (+1.52 point).
Together the Orange forces won 44.86% versus 39.76% for the Regions Party which joined forces with the Communist Party. To date the Vladimir Litvin Block has not declared its choice with regard to which coalition it will join.
The participation rate rose to 62.51% (-7.49 points in comparison with the election on 26th March 2006). Observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) indicated that the election was "mostly in line with international commitments and standards set for democratic elections thereby confirming an open, pluralist environment in which the electoral procedure could take place." The delegation of observers from the European Parliament also said that the elections took place according to international democratic standards.
On 3rd October President of the Republic Viktor Yushenko surprised everyone by calling all of the political parties together to form a grand coalition. "I ask the Regions Party, the Yulia Timoshenko Block and Our Ukraine-Self-Defence as well as the other victors to start preliminary negotiations to form a parliamentary majority and a government. I have one aim only: Ukraine must emerge united from these elections, there must not be two Ukraines," he said in a televised speech. "My main message to the political parties is that they start political discussions in order to form the basis of a majority in the Ukrainian parliament and for a government, and also to decide on relations between government forces and the opposition," he added.
Outgoing Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich was receptive to this declaration. "The Regions Party has constantly stressed the need for the political parties to consolidate and form a grand coalition," he said adding, "Political leaders have to do everything they can in spite of their own ambitions to meet each other half way so that the country is united." Yulia Timoshenko however refused the offer categorically. "We say once again that any co-operation or partnership between the democratic forces and the Regions Party can only exist if the Regions Party is in the opposition. Any other type of co-operation with this party is to be excluded from the very beginning," she wrote on her internet site. Yuri Lutsenko for his part, founder and leader of Self-Defence who led the Our Ukraine-Self-Defence list in the general elections said that he disagreed with the idea of an alliance between all the political parties. "A grand coalition including the Regions Party is unnatural in terms of Ukrainian democracy," he maintained.
The very next day Viktor Yushenko had significantly toned down the suggestions he had made on 3rd October announcing that an Orange coalition was to be formed and that some ministers and some positions in Parliament would be reserved for the Regions Party so that the latter could "monitor" the ruling power. He invited the Vladimir Litvin Block to join the Orange Coalition.
"The President of the Republic has decided to show that he is above the fray and that the creation of a coalition is an issue which strictly comes down to Parliament with him playing the executive referee," indicated political analyst Oleksandr Litvinenko in explanation of the decision taken by Viktor Yushenko. Many observers of the political arena believe that the weak advantage held by the Orange forces over the Regions Party-Communist Party coalition explains the declaration made by the Head of State. "It is a situation of conflict in which the minority could become the majority at any time and vice-versa," believes political analyst Vadim Karassiov. With only 14.15% of the vote Viktor Yushenko, who had been hoping to re-establish his authority and receive the support of the new Parliament in these early elections, which he convened, now lies in a weak position. However as President of the Republic the matter lies in his hands. In addition to this it is clear that he is in two minds about joining forces with Yulia Timoshenko again just two years before the presidential elections which may very well bring them face to face.
And so the election on 30th September did not produce a clear distinction between the political forces at play. The President of the Republic appears to have lost his wager since not only are the results of the vote almost identical with those produced on 26th March 2006, his own party has not moved forwards and has even lost ground to Yulia Timoshenko. "I think that in the end there will be an Orange government but before that the Ukraine will have to undergo a long period of negotiation. This is the scenario which the representatives of the EU and other leaders wanted the Ukraine to avoid at all costs," comments Tammy Lynch, researcher at the American Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology and Politics.
General Elections Results – 30th September 2007 in the Ukraine
Participation rate: 62.51%