Ukraine after the Presidential elections

May 27th, 2014   News | Ukraine

Meanwhile EU’s member states voted in the European elections, Presidential elections were held in Ukraine. As it became clear that the victory will go to Petro Poroshenko, many Ukrainians felt relieved. No second round was then to be expected.

The votes in support of Poroshenko, the businessman who became rich by producing chocolate, vary between 56 and 57 percent. With 13 percent of the votes, Yulia Tymochenko is on the second place. The far right populist, Oleh Tyahnybok only received 1.5 percent of the votes.

The number of people who voted seems to have been fairly high. In total 55 percent of the Ukrainians went to the ballots; 80 percent in Western Ukraine and 70 percent in Kyiv. The black spot however, was in eastern Ukraine. In the industrial city of Donetsk, which together with Lugansk, declared it independent earlier this spring, polling stations were closed.

Who is the new President, Petro Poroshenko?

Some describe him as a man of the old generation of oligarchs who built a fortune shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union when market competition was low. But billions haven’t deterred him from a political career. He served as Foreign Minister in Tymochenko’s government a few months in 2009 and Minister of Trade and Economic Development in the government of Viktor Janukovytj in 2012.

When the news came that Poroshenko will be the President of Ukraine, reactions from Moscow were surprisingly positive. Poroshenko has not closed the door completely to Russia despite the fact that his chocolate has been accused of being carcinogenic by the Russians. However, the new President is condemning the illegal occupation of Crimea, and has declared that he will resume the free trade negotiations with EU.

Could Poroshenko stabilize Ukraine?

It remains to be seen. A more efficient resistance against the rebels in the eastern part of the country is to be expected, but Poroshenko has also said he wants to guarantee the rights of the Russian speaking minorities of the country, not least when it comes to the recognition of Russian as an official language in areas where more than ten percent speaks the language. On the other hand, violence occurred in Donetsk shortly after the Presidential election and more than thirty people were reported killed due to clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian military.

As President, Poroshenko is expected to change the government. Arseniy Yatseniuk will probably remain as Prime Minister and eventually there will be a parliamentary election.

According to the first reports from the international election observers, the voting was overall fair and free.

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