Count down: Four months and counting.. and counting … and counting

September 17, 2009

Assuming all goes well Ukraine will go to the polls in four months time to elect a new head of state All opinion polls and political analysts are predicting a contest between Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yanukovych. Whilst the official campaign does not start until October 19 all the main players are vying for attention and support.

The main certainty in the expected results is that incumbent President Viktor Yushchenko will not be re-elected to a second term of office. Yushchenko’s chances of being re-elected to office has been written off by America’s former ambassador Steven Pifer and Analyst David Kramer. The overall election is expected to cost over one billion dollars with the administrative cost of holding the ballot budgeted to cost one billion hryivnas. Public opinion polls have consistently shown Viktor Yanukovych in poll position and wining against all comers in a head to head second-round contest. Viktor Yushchenko, who is on 2.6% to 3.5% will lose outright in the first-round along with losing his deposit (2.5 Million hryvina). Yushchenko’s nomination will take away votes from the major players and limit Arseniy Yatseniuk’s chances of being in the top two who progress to the second-round of voting. Yatseniuk is stuck on 12%-14% and not rising.

The level of uncertainty and prolonged campaign period is beginning to take its toll and has already shown signs of over stressing Ukraine’s already stressed economy with expectation that the value of the hryvina will continue to be battered until after the final round of the Presidential election when the dust has settled.

The likely hood of the Presidential election stabilising Ukraine is minimal with expectation that a fresh parliamentary election will follow.

Viktor Yushchenko is working on a strategy of destabilization by discrediting the election process which is overseen by OSCE. If he is successfully Ukraine may very well be facing an even more unstable period as Yushchenko tries to cling on to office extending his current term beyond the five-years he was originally elected for. A possible presidential coup is still being talked about. Yushchenko has had a technical win in having the law on the impeachment of the President declared null and void and he is now seeking to have the law on the Presidential elections also thrown out. If this happens then Ukraine will be facing yet again another constitutional crisis and a major loss of confidence in Ukraine’s Constitutional Court and possible civil unrest providing grounds for Yushchenko who represents less then 4% of the constituents to remain in office by declaring a state of emergency.

Either way you look at it the next four months (122 days) are going to be a trying period for Ukraine as it travels down a rocky and precarious path.

To think that Ukraine could have opted for a democratic, constitutional Parliamentary election of its head of state (at no direct cost) or the Presidential ballot could have been held next month when the Ukrainian weather is more conducive to voter participation as opposed to holding an election in the midst of Ukraine’s bitter cold winter.

To help countdown the time we have installed a countdown clock to election day (set to GMT time – sorry)