Yushchenko-Tymoshenko parties declare victory in Ukraine vote

By bne IntelliNews October 1, 2007

Roman Olearchyk in Kyiv -

Ukraine's fiery opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and the party of pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko declared victory late Sunday, September 30 after exit polls showed them with a narrow lead in the crucial parliamentary elections. Both parties appeared to have just enough to oust the governing coalition of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, but with only half of the official votes counted as of early Monday and the margin of error in the exit polls ranging from 1-4%, the possibility is still open for a change.

"This is without a doubt a victory," said Tymoshenko, a charismatic leader who played a big role in rallying support for Yushchenko's 2004 presidential bid and who is now poised to return as prime minister. She was fired by Yushchenko as premier after a brief stint in 2005 after a bitter falling out with the president. But now both these Orange Revolution heroes claim to be reunited against Yanukovich's coalition, which they have accused of derailing Western integration, stalling reforms and conducting corrupt privatisation tenders.

However, at a press briefing PM Yanukovych appeared confident that when the final vote was counted, his party could end with the lead or succeed in forming a coalition through negotiations. "By winning this election, we now have the right to form the next government and I invite all qualified parties to participate in the negotiations to form the coalition," Yanukovych said.

Exit polls also raised the possibility that a dark horse party, the bloc of former speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, could muster enough voter support to act as kingmaker between both groups, though exit polls suggest that Lytvyn's bloc appeared just short of such a position. Political analyst Vadym Karasiov says that Lytvyn's bloc would push for a broad coalition with Yushchenko's and Yanukovych's party.

Ms Gas is back

The exit polls showed Tymoshenko's bloc with a surprisingly strong second place finish. Her bloc garnered more than 30% of votes cast, just behind Yanukovych's Regions party with 35% and double the 14% received by Yushchenko's Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defence bloc. The results show Tymoshenko's bloc, support for which has steadily risen since 2002, as the only party with significant gains.

If the exit polls are right, Tymoshenko will return to form a coalition government with the president's party. The duo would hold a hairline majority in parliament. The strong result is a double-edged sword for Yushchenko, as Tymoshenko is expected to challenge him for the presidency in a campaign that kicks off in 2009.

Both parties support Yushchenko's speedy Western integration agenda and campaigned hard against Yanukovych's coalition, which they have accused of being corrupt, stalling reforms and pandering to Russia. Relations with Moscow that turned sour after the Orange Revolution have recovered somewhat under the premiership of Yanukovich, but could be ruined again under Tymoshenko, who has pledged to clean up what she has described as the "shadowy" natural gas trade between both countries and Turkmenistan.

The initial market reaction to Tymoshenko's likely return was mixed. "In the short term, markets might be concerned by this outcome as they may fear a return to the trade wars with Russia which marked Tymoshenko's last stint as prime minister in 2005," says Tim Ash, an emerging market debt analyst at the London offices of Bear Stearns. "However, we would expect both Tymoshenko and Russia to be much more pragmatic second time around.

"We still would not rule of the possibility of Tymoshenko being kept out of office by a back-room deal" between Yushchenko and Yanukovych, Ash adds.

Yushchenko dissolved parliament this spring to end what he described as political corruption and attempts to usurp power by the coalition of Yanukovych. The president and his nemesis from the Orange Revolution of 2004 have since been involved in a year-long wrestling match for authority. The president hopes that these snap elections could help end the longstanding political paralysis, but analysts predict the country's politics will in coming years remain complicated and dominated by the same ambitious politicians.

Fears have spread in recent days that the massive vote rigging seen in the presidential contest in 2004 could resurface in this vote, but preliminary findings by more than 3,000 observers ruled out widespread violations. Political analysts also warned that election results could be challenged by lawsuits, but massive street side protests as seen during the Orange Revolution are not expected.

Send comments to The Editor

Yushchenko-Tymoshenko parties declare victory in Ukraine vote

Related Articles

Ukraine's largest PrivatBank faces down nationalisation fears

Graham Stack in Kyiv - Ukraine's largest lender PrivatBank has survived a stormy week of speculation over its future, but there are larger rocks ahead, with some market participants anticipating the ... more

bne:Chart - Russia begins to steady the ship according to latest Despair Index

Henry Kirby in London - Ukraine and Russia’s latest “Despair Index” scores suggest that the two struggling economies could finally be turning the corner, following nearly two years of steady ... more

Austria's Erste rides CEE recovery to swing to profit in Jan-Sep

bne IntelliNews - Erste Group Bank saw the continuing economic recovery across Central and Eastern Europe push its January-September financial results back into net profit of €764.2mn, the ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or 12 months full access inc. Magazine and Weekly Newspaper for just $119/year.

If you have already registered, enter the information below with the same email you used previously and you will be granted immediate access.

IntelliNews Pro subscribers click here

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address. A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

Thank you for purchasing a bne IntelliNews subscription. We look forward to serving you as one of our paid subscribers. An email confirmation will be sent to the email address you have provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

IntelliNews Pro subscribers click here

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

If you have already registered, enter the information below with the same email you used previously and you will be granted immediate access.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address. The confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.