On Sunday 17 January Ukraine held its first presidential elections since the 2004 Orange Revolution. In the third installment of his blog, Andrew Wilson gives his immediate reaction to the day of voting

After the vote
 
The snow might have gone in London or Paris, but it's still knee-deep here in Kiev. That made it rather hard for anyone to have a real election-night party - but the Yuliya Tymoshenko team was trying its hardest, after exit polls put her within touching distance of a second round victory. Her opponent Viktor Yanukovych' s strategy was to aim for a knock-out blow in round one - building up his support base in east Ukraine to deprive the charismatic Tymoshenko - always the best campaigner - of crucial momentum in round two. 
But the most respectable exit poll puts Yanukovych on only 31.5%, with Tymoshenko breathing down his neck on 27.2%. Can she close the gap?
  • It is difficult to see where Yanukovych's extra votes will come from. The Communist leader Petro Symonenko may get 3-4%, but is neutralised by business sponsors close to Tymoshenko. Inna Bohoslovska will score well in Crimea, but her real target is the Crimean local elections due in May. 
  • Tymoshenko has to persuade the other Orange voters to back her. The people who voted for soon to be ex-President Yushchenko (about 6%) and others have to think of her as the 'lesser evil', and hold their nose while they cast their second votes for her.
  • Ex-banker Serhiy Tyhipko is predicted to win 13.5%. His support will be decisive either way. Tymoshenko is best placed to give him what he wants - but that may not be prime minister at such a difficult time. But he has to be offered a post powerful enoufgh to convince his voters, Expect more tough bargaining in the days ahead.

For more...

In Part One of Ukraine Decides, Andrew looks at what went wrong after 2004's Orange Revolution. You can read Part One here

In Part Two of Ukraine Decides, Andrew examines why Europe should care about the Ukrainian election. You can read Part Two here

In Part Three of Ukraine Decides, Andrew told us what to watch out for on election night. You can read Part Three here here

You can listen to a podcast interview with Andrew Wilson talking about the elections here. You can also subscribe to ECFR podcasts via iTunes or podhoster.com.

Andrew Wilson is available for press interviews and comment on the elections. Click here for our press advisory.

Read more on: Wider Europe

The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. This commentary, like all publications of the European Council on Foreign Relations, represents only the views of its authors.