Blow to Putin as pro-West Parties Win Mandate in Ukraine

Blow to Putin as pro-West Parties Win Mandate in Ukraine

Ukraine looks set to move towards the European mainstream as the top three parties from results available are defiant in the face of Russian aggression Reuters News Agency reports.

Former Prime Minister Arsent Yatseniuk and his party ‘People’s Front’ had a vote share of 21.67 with a quarter of the vote counted, fractionally ahead of President Petro Poroshenko’s party on 21.63.

The results are very high for a field of 29 competing parties in the election, showing the Ukrainian people support their policies of an end to the separatist war in the East of the country and democratic changes sought by Western democracies.

Poroshenko addressed Ukrainians two hours after polling ended on Sunday night. “The majority of voters were in favour of the political forces that support the president’s peace plan and seek a political solution to the situation in the Donbass,” he told the crowds and he thanked voters for backing a “democratic, reformist, pro-Ukrainian and pro-European majority”.

The area of Donbass is where Ukrainian forces have been fighting separatist rebels with international attention on the conflict which has seen Russia back the separatists and an international civilian flight shot down.

Yatseniuk became Prime Minister after the ousting of Viktor Yanukovych from power earlier this year. But a surprise result in these first elections since the 2014 uprising was the strong performance of Mr Yanukovych’s allies. Latest figures show the Opposition Bloc of ex-Fuel Minister Yuriy Boiko was on 9.62 percent, easily enough to put the party into parliament.

In spite of that shock, the results show the likelihood of Poroshenko and Yatseniuk working in tandem in a result which will please the European leaders and Americans.

They, in particular, like Mr Yatseniuk who is robust in his desire to reform the country and piece together the economy after this devastating civil conflict. That popularity will help Ukraine in aid talks, an important factor for many Ukrainians no doubt when they came to cast their vote.

The figures, which roughly confirmed earlier exit polls, put another pro-Europe party from western Ukraine in third place.

The results so far give a partial read-out only of party voting for 225 of the 450 seats in Parliament. Results from voting for single constituency seats will take a few days to be announced. 

But in spite of this, it is evident that a pro-Western assembly is forming in these first elections since Yanukovic’s overthrow in February following violent street protests. These broke out when he ditched a deal to take Ukraine closer to the EU and out of the Russian sphere – which resulted in Russia annexing the Crimea. 

Moscow went on to back separatist rebellions in Ukraine’s industrialised east which have killed more than 3,700 people.

These elections will also please onlookers from the West as it looks to be the first time there will be no members of the Communist party in the assembly since the Ukraine achieved independence from the USSR in 1991. 

But this pro-Western result will naturally upset Russia and tensions look likely to increase. Moscow is already locked in a dispute over gas prices, cutting off supply to Ukraine in June over unpaid bills. Ukraine refused to pay the bills after Russia sharply increased the price of gas. 

Towards EU enlargement

The results look to increase demand for Ukraine to reopen talks for EU membership: the bloc has taken a huge interest in the Ukraine and sees its accession to political union as victory against Russian control of the region. 

“We can say today that a third of voters support the president’s course for carrying out reforms for entering the European Union,” said Yuriy Lutsenko, the leader of the Poroshenko Bloc.

But talks are likely to take years and require the support of other member states and MEPs – which Russian aggression could jeopardise particularly given Germany’s energy supply being reliant on the global power. 

Voting did not take place on Sunday in areas held by the rebels or in Crimea. In eastern regions controlled by the army, armed soldiers guarded polling stations under Ukraine’s flag.

Separatist rebels entrenched in the big eastern cities of Donetsk and Luhansk said they were ignoring the Ukrainian election and still planned to go ahead with a rival vote on Nov. 2 to further their calls for independence.


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