02/09/2010, 00.00
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Tymoshenko accuses winner Yanukovich of election fraud

Her supporters have announced their intention of filing a complaint in court to uphold the principle of a free and fair vote. Political analyst says Ukraine must expect years of infighting because neither side contemplated the possibility of losing.

Kiev (AsiaNews) – Yulia Tymoshenko’ parliamentary block has complained that last Sunday’s presidential election, which was won by opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich, was rigged. It announced that it would go to court to uphold the principle of a free and fair election. For Sergei Rudenko, one of Ukraine’s best-known journalists and political analysts, what was likely to happen happened. “Ukraine is now on the eve of years of infighting between two political factions and the economic-financial clans that back them because neither presidential candidate could contemplate the possibility of losing.”

Official results indicate that pro-Russia Yanukovich came first with 3 per cent more votes than Prime Minister Tymoshenko who had led the 2004 Orange Revolution.

International observers said the poll was run correctly, but Ukraine’s Iron Lady appears to want a third round, like in 2004, when street protests led to cancellation of the election won by Yanukovich for election fraud.

According to Rudenko, “even if Tymoshenko had won, Ukraine would still be moving towards a strong presidential system. Now, constitutional reform could concentrate powers in the hands of the head of state. Yanukovich’s Regions Party will control parliament and name the new prime minister. Russian influence will increase, but not in ways that might ruffle the feathers of the oligarchs who run eastern Ukraine, which is Yanukovich’s power base.  The European Union will now have to deal with Russia whose borders will stretch into the heart of the Old Continent.”

In this election, neither Washington nor Brussels showed much interest. “Even Moscow did not interfere in the vote, which shows that it was not very important geopolitically. Moscow was well disposed towards either candidates, both of whom pledged to have good relations with the United States and the European Union,” Rudenko said.

Now the country faces a permanent political crisis with a ruling class that is corrupt, prone to infighting. Prime Minister Tymoshenko and outgoing President Yushenko could even face legal problems now that they are politically on their way out.

In the meantime, ordinary Ukrainians have to shoulder the economic crisis, live on salaries that barely reach US$ 300 a month, and bid good-bye to Europe, now that Brussels like Washington “turned its back us”.

The new president is also unlikely to deliver on his promises of jobs, security and justice. People in any event are tired and disillusioned.

“We made a revolution for real ideals, but now the only ideal is money,” said Raissa Marchuk, a 55-year-old teacher, who was in streets during the 2004 revolution. (MA)

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