Five years after he was routed by the Orange Revolution, Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovich looked set to win Sunday’s presidential elections, according to election officials. But his rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, has still to concede defeat.
Pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovich held a slim lead on Monday in the race to become Ukraine's next president over pro-Western Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a one-time leader of the country’s reformist Orange Revolution.
With 98.4 percent of votes counted, Yanukovich had a 2.8 percentage lead over Tymoshenko. Turnout for Sunday’s vote was estimated at 69 percent.
Earlier Monday, Yanukovich’s Regions Party had proclaimed itself the winner, but Tymoshenko cautioned her arch rival against victory declarations before the final results were released.
While Tymoshenko is widely expected to challenge the result, the fiery Ukranian politician was uncharacteristically quiet on Monday, postponing a planned news conference until Tuesday.
International monitors have urged Tymoshenko to concede defeat for the sake of political stability in the economically battered country. In a statement released Monday observers from the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) said Sunday’s vote was “an impressive display of democratic elections”.
The vote marks a dramatic turnaround for both the country and for Yanukovich, 59, who had been set to take the presidency once before in 2004. But after he was declared the winner of a widely disputed vote, thousands took to the streets in protest at election fraud -- and Kremlin influence in Ukrainian politics -- in a movement that eventually became the Orange Revolution and propelled Viktor Yushchenko, a one-time Tymoshenko ally, to the presidency.
END OF ORANGE REVOLUTION?
And Tymoshenko does not appear ready to go down without a fight. “It seems highly likely that Yulia Tymoshenko’s party will challenge the results,” Cragg says.
Date created : 2010-02-08