I know I said I was going to live-blog the Ukrainian elections today, but that plan kind of fell through. First, I got up too late, as I didn’t account for the time change. I got up around 9:00 local time, but by then, the day in Ukraine was practically over. Second, the result was stupid and predictable: Poroshenko’s bloc won the majority, with Prime Minister Areseny Yatsenyuk’s in a close second.
As votes are counted, President Petro Poroshenko’s bloc looks set to win the most, with PM Arseny Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front party a close second.
Mr Poroshenko thanked voters for supporting what he described as a call for a reformist, pro-European majority.
About 3m people in two eastern regions ravaged by conflict did not vote.
Pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions plan to hold their own polls next month.
Another 1.8 million people in Crimea, annexed by Russia in March, also did not take part.
Now, this result would be a lot more impressive for President Poroshenko if two things weren’t true:
- The Party of Regions, usually the main challenger to these foolish, allegedly pro-Western blocs often headed by shady oligarchs, did not take part in these elections, as it did not recognize them as legitimate.
- As noted in the BBC article I quoted, some of the areas that would have been staunchly against Poroshenko’s and Yatsenyuk’s parties/blocs didn’t even take part in the election. The Crimea and the Donbass region, among others, are among the most pro-Russian areas in the country.
As an analogy, it’s useful to consider this: what if an election were held in the US between the Democrats and the Republicans, but only the states of California, Seattle, Oregon, Massachusetts, and New York voted. And then the Democrats went and triumphantly proclaimed that they won and had the support of the people. Any American can see that such a result isn’t very valid, as those states mentioned skew towards the Democratic Party anyway!
So yes, I am disappointed in the Ukrainian elections. Based on what has happened in Ukraine in the past decade, I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time before the people get tired of the government. (For example: remember the euphoria of the Orange Revolution in 2004, and then how Yanukovych’s Party of Regions swept the parliamentary elections a mere two years later, in 2006, which led to Yanukovych’s appointment as Prime Minister. Then, Yanukovych himself went on to win the presidential election in 2010, which was free and fair.)
Oh, well. Better luck next time to my comrades in the Party of Regions!
Also, an unexpected silver lining: Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchina [Fatherland] party came in last, according to exit polls! (Link in Russian, from Poroshenko’s Twitter.)