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middletonm
27-12-2004, 00:00
Exit polls give pro-West Yushchenko big win in Ukraine vote

KIEV (AFP) - Pro-Western opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko was seen heading for victory in Ukraine's presidential election, exit polls indicated, after a vote that will decide whether the ex-Soviet republic breaks with the past and aligns itself with the West or remains under Russia's sway.

Two exit polls published at the close of polls nationwide gave Yushchenko a 15-point lead over his rival while a third poll released at the same time put the 50-year-old opposition leader 20 points ahead.

The first official returns were expected to be published late Sunday with more complete official results due out early Monday, officials said.

If confirmed officially, a Yushchenko win would be a political turnaround in a country where only last month state media gave Yushchenko almost no coverage and where Russia publicly backed pro-Moscow Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.


Ukrainians fatigued by weeks of political upheaval said they went back to the polls for the third time in less than two months because the fate of their country was at stake.


"I am voting for a better life, if not for me then for my children and grandchildren," Lidia Karpenko, a 55-year-old architect, said outside a Kiev voting station.


The repeat vote was ordered after a runoff on November 21 that officially gave victory to Yanukovich drew hundreds of thousands of Yushchenko supporters onto the streets and was later ruled fraudulent and thrown out by the supreme court.


Yushchenko has promised to lead this country of 48 million people towards membership in the European Union (news - web sites) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO (news - web sites)), while the 54-year-old Yanukovich has vowed to preserve and strengthen historical ties with neighboring Russia.


Speaking to reporters as he cast his ballot in Kiev, Yushchenko said he was certain the voting would yield "victory for democracy in Ukraine" and played down concerns over a last-minute court ruling modifying part of a new election law.


Election officials said the rerun was proceeding as planned and outgoing President Leonid Kuchma voiced hope it would prove conclusive.


"God willing this will be the last election" to choose his successor, Kuchma said as he cast his ballot in Kiev. "I am sure it will be."


Casting his own ballot earlier, Yanukovich complained about the 11th-hour change to electoral laws, a ruling by the constitutional court easing limits on home voting that he favored, saying it was too little, too late.


But he too voiced confidence Sunday's vote would be legitimate.


"I think the Ukrainian people will have a proper election," he said. "I have voted for our future, the future of the Ukrainian people."


Both camps traded charges throughout the day of various infractions during the vote, but concerns the ballot could spark renewed unrest in the streets were not borne out as the voting wound down.


"In general, everything has been calm," the interior ministry told Interfax news agency. "There were no incidents today in Ukraine and there have been no reports of serious rights violations."


The central election commission said that with about two-thirds of precincts reporting, turnout of the country's 37.4 million registered voters was nearly 55 percent after seven hours of balloting.





Sunday's election rerun was ordered after the previous vote was marred by large-scale fraud and a mysterious poisoning episode. It exposed deep divisions within the former Soviet republic itself, and between the West and Russia.

In addition to Yushchenko's face being disfigured after he ingested dioxin poison, the runup to that vote was punctuated by what independent observers described as blatant bias by state-influenced broadcast media in Yanukovich's favor.

The Ukrainian Press Academy said Sunday however that coverage of the vote on Ukraine's main television networks had been far more balanced this time.

Yushchenko is most popular in the agrarian, Ukrainian-speaking nationalist western portion of the country, some of which was not even a part of Ukraine until it was annexed by the Soviet Union before World War II.

Yanukovich's strength lies mainly in the coal-rich, industrialized, Russian-speaking east and south -- areas traditionally close to, or part, of the Russian empire.

The vote has ramifications abroad as the United States and western Europe push for accelerated development of Western-style democracy and free markets in Ukraine, as a wary Russia bridles at what it regards as foreign encroachment into its strategic backyard.

The vote was being watched by an unprecedented number of observers from dozens of international institutions, organizations and governments -- more than 12,500 were registered to watch this vote, compared with 5,000 for the previous ballot -- who fanned out around the country.

middletonm
27-12-2004, 03:59
UPDATE- Yushchenko Declares Victory

By JUDITH INGRAM, Associated Press Writer

KIEV, Ukraine - Opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko declared himself the winner of Ukraine's bitter presidential contest early Monday, saying the country was on the verge of a "new political life."

The hard-fought contest, which saw Yuschenko poisoned with dioxin early in the campaign, required an unprecedented three ballots and Supreme Court intervention to pick a new leader.

With exit polls projecting an easy victory, election officials reported Yuschenko with a lead of 17 percentage points with 40 percent of Ukraine's precincts counted,.

"Today, Ukraine is beginning a new political life," Yushchenko told journalists and supporters crammed into his campaign headquarters.

quincy
27-12-2004, 13:33
Looks like the election monitors and observers were/are not so neutral after all!

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This time more than 12,000 international observers will attend, many from Western governments and institutions including the European Parliament, the Nato parliamentary assembly and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. These are supposed to be neutral, but some openly back Mr Yushchenko and were seen joining opposition protests and even waving opposition flags after the last vote. “You are supposed to maintain objectivity but it’s hard to control people,” one Western observer, who declined to be named, said. “Obviously Western people instinctively support Mr Yushchenko because of what he stands for. And some people do get carried away.” Silver Meikar, an Estonian member of parliament, who observed the last vote, abandoned his delegation to join protesters in their tent camp near Independence Square. [London Times]

peyote
27-12-2004, 18:11
mr putin! - bring in the tanks! give 'em a "prague's spring" and take belarus too!

belarus and ukraine are not russia? really? how? that's what the west wants... a divided surrounded russia... i hope it never happens...

putin?! wake up! bring in the goddamn tanks!

J.D.
27-12-2004, 18:28
He he knows he can't afford an embargo.

Well, he should know that.

middletonm
27-12-2004, 22:46
Yanukovych Vows Challenge in Ukraine

By ALEKSANDAR VASOVIC, Associated Press Writer

KIEV, Ukraine - Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko celebrated his apparent victory in Ukraine's presidential election rerun Monday, but his opponent refused to concede defeat and vowed to challenge the results before Ukraine's Supreme Court in what could be a protracted legal battle.

The vast tent camp set up by orange-clad Yushchenko supporters on Kiev's main avenue after the fraud-plagued Nov. 21 election remained in place, indicating his backers were prepared for further tensions although no election-related violence was reported Sunday. Orange was Yushchenko's campaign color.

With ballots counted from 99.7 percent of precincts, official results gave Yushchenko 52.1 percent of the votes compared with 44.1 percent for Kremlin-backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. Yushchenko held a 2.3 million-vote lead with just 100,000 votes remaining to be counted at 133 polling stations.

Just more than 77 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. Yushchenko claimed victory early Monday as exit polls gave him a strong lead. The Western-leaning politician, who was disfigured by dioxin poisoning, thanked protesters who spent weeks camped out in the capital's frigid streets for helping secure his electoral victory.

"Now, today, the Ukrainian people have won. I congratulate you," he told a jubilant crowd in Kiev's Independence Square. "We have been independent for 14 years but we were not free. Now we can say this is a thing of the past. Now we are facing an independent and free Ukraine."

But Yanukovych did not concede, and Nestor Shufrych, a lawmaker and Yanukovych ally, said the prime minister's campaign would appeal the results to the Supreme Court, where Yushchenko took his legal appeals after the Nov. 21 vote. The court eventually overturned those results.

"I will never recognize such a defeat, because the constitution and human rights were violated in our country and people died," Yanukovych told reporters in the capital Kiev.

Yanukovych criticized lawmakers for restricting home voting after reports that some elderly voters died after going to the polls despite ill health.

Shufrych cited allegations of multiple voting and violations in voter lists. Yanukovych said his campaign team had close to 5,000 complaints about how voting was conducted. His campaign had filed complaints with the Central Election Commission.

The commission has 15 days to announce the final results. Once the results are released, candidates have seven days to appeal.

Despite the promise of a court fight, Yanukovych's supporters were subdued. His headquarters canceled a rally planned Monday in his hometown of Donetsk, a city in Yanukovych's stronghold of eastern Ukraine.

Even before exit poll results were announced, a glum-looking Yanukovych told reporters that "if there is a defeat, there will be a strong opposition."

Some 12,000 foreign observers watched Sunday's unprecedented rerun to help prevent a repetition of fraud that led to Yanukovych's Nov. 21 victory being overturned by the court.

"The Ukrainian people finally had an opportunity to choose freely their next president," Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) said in Washington. "The overall vote brought Ukraine substantially closer to meeting international democratic standards. The Ukrainian people can truly be proud of this achievement."

Both campaigns complained of some violations Sunday. Yanukovych's campaign reported problems in pro-Yushchenko western Ukraine, such as Yushchenko campaign material being found near voting booths. Yushchenko's headquarters said the names of people who died 15 years ago were included on a voter list in Donetsk.

The observer delegation said Monday that Ukraine had made good progress toward meeting international standards for free and fair elections in Sunday's revote.

"It is the collective judgment of the organizations represented here that the Ukrainian elections have moved substantially closer to meeting OSCE (news - web sites) and other international standards," said Bruce George, head of the delegation from the Organization for Security and Cooperation (news - web sites) in Europe, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and other election watchdogs.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, whose own accession to power on a wave of peaceful protest in November 2003 inspired Ukraine's opposition, congratulated Yushchenko in a Ukrainian-language message delivered over Ukrainian television.

Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski called Yushchenko's victory a "good and important choice" for Ukraine's relations with Europe, Kwasniewski's office said.

Tension during the fiercely fought election campaign was fueled by fraud allegations and Yushchenko's claims to have been poisoned by authorities in an assassination attempt. Doctors have confirmed he was poisoned by a nearly lethal amount of dioxin, which severely disfigured his face.

Yushchenko will need monthly blood tests to track how quickly the poison is leaving his body. Doctors have said they expect a gradual recovery, although they fear an increased long-term risk of a heart attack, cancer or other chronic diseases.

Yushchenko called his supporters back to Independence Square on Monday afternoon to defend his apparent election victory, if necessary, and asked for their help in what he called the main task facing the nation: forming a trustworthy government.

Thousands gathered, hoping for another appearance by Yushchenko after dark.

"Today is a golden day," said Mykola Rak, a 62-year-old sporting an orange armband.

People stopped in the square during the day to watch vote returns on a television monitor, chanting "Yu-shchen-ko! Yu-shchen-ko!" Their cheers were punctuated by blasts from car horns.

"Today we began to live! Today, we rose off our knees and showed ourselves and the world that our future can't be dictated to us. We will dictate it," said Olga Drik, 21, who festooned her purse with orange ribbons.

Voters had faced a crucial choice. Ukraine, a nation of 48 million people, is caught between the eastward-expanding European Union (news - web sites) and NATO (news - web sites) and an increasingly assertive Russia, its former imperial and Soviet-era master.

Yushchenko, a former Central Bank chief and prime minister, wants to move Ukraine closer to the West and advance economic and political reforms. Yanukovych emphasized tightening the Slavic country's ties with Russia as a means of maintaining stability.

Yushchenko built on the momentum of round-the-clock protests that echoed the spirit of the anti-communist revolutions that swept other East European countries in 1989-1990.

"Thousands of people that were and are at the square were not only waiting for this victory but they were creating it," he said. "In some time, in a few years, they'll be able to utter these historic words: 'Yes, this is my Ukraine and I am proud that I am from this country.'"

koba65
28-12-2004, 00:13
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Yushenko's victory is better for Russia. If Yanukovich had won he'd have to throw some bones to the West at the detriment of Russia. Now, Yushenko will have to throw some bones to Russia. Regardless, Ukraine can never turn its back on Russia (and vice versa).

Lesson in all of this is Russia needs to start learning how to treat its fellow Slavs as equals instead of "little brothers." That seems to be the biggest gripe about Russians I've heard from Ukrainians (regardless of where they live). Heard the same from Serbs as well.

Sunstorm
28-12-2004, 01:39
I agree with what you say, Koba..

I was trying to stay away from all these Ukrainian things... but from all I understand about Yuschenko and Yanukovich I get the feeling (and that is mainly based on the intuition than any deep analysis) that if Yanukovich would win, there would be something resembling Belarus (Lukashenko) after some time. And it won;t be good for Russia at all.
Yuschenko is maybe anti-Russian, as people here like to say.... but to me he looks more sensible and decent guy... and he won't be acting against Russia too much, cuz that would lead to the mess in Ukraine society, first of all, and his task No. 1 is to bring some peace into the society.
However, if Russia continues its awquard and ridiculous movements there.... well, to cut it short - what goes around, comes around...

quincy
28-12-2004, 02:16
Sorry, Sunstorm but I think the so-called orange revolution has polarised and you could say destabilised Ukrainian society. Never has the country been split as it is today. I don't think the orange revolutionaries have anything radical to offer. Yuschenko was Prime Minister under Kuchma in the past and like Timoshenko was very close to him. Two US Congressman want to know about $60 million reported to have been spent on sponsoring the Orange Carnival on the maidan in Kiev

quincy
28-12-2004, 02:34
Originally posted by koba65
Lesson in all of this is Russia needs to start learning how to treat its fellow Slavs as equals instead of "little brothers." That seems to be the biggest gripe about Russians I've heard from Ukrainians (regardless of where they live). Heard the same from Serbs as well.

Koba smaller countries always live in the shadow of their larger neighbors. Nothing especially Slavic about this phenomenon. Portugal lives in the shadow of Spain. Holland in the shadow of Germany. Uruguay in the shadow of Brazil. Mexico (and Canada) in the shadow of the US, except Mexican workers are received far less enthusiastically in the US than Ukrainian and Belorussian workers in Russia

koba65
28-12-2004, 03:16
Originally posted by quincy
Sorry, Sunstorm but I think the so-called orange revolution has polarised and you could say destabilised Ukrainian society. Never has the country been split as it is today. I don't think the orange revolutionaries have anything radical to offer. Yuschenko was Prime Minister under Kuchma in the past and like Timoshenko was very close to him. Two US Congressman want to know about $60 million reported to have been spent on sponsoring the Orange Carnival on the maidan in Kiev

Quincy, the US has been 60 million dollars over the last two years to promote democracy in Ukraine. The money was available to all parties. Yushenko's party and other like-minded parties used more of it than Yanukovich's (allegedly). It's a bit odd that two US Congressmen would want to know about the 60 million that their House approved!?

Ukraine was more split when they were occupied by the Nazis. Today doesn't even come close. Ukrainian society is not as polarized as it seems. The advantage the "orange" had was that there were thousands of students willing and able to take to the streets. The "blues" (Yanukovich's support) found it a bit more difficult to gather. They had to pay some flatheads to come up to Kiev and got some miners together. When push comes to shove, the miners in the Donetsk region will go back to work and put food on their tables rather than run up to Kiev and sit on Maidan Nezavisimosti.

Kuchma and Yanukovich's party really screwed the pooch on this election. The party had a couple of good alternatives (the mayor of Odessa and Yanukovich's former campaign manager) to Yanukovich. Yanukovich couldn't escape his past (or his present it seems). He barely speaks Ukrainian and his Russian isn't that hot either.

A lot has been written and reported about Western "meddling" and Russian "meddling" in this election. The difference is the Western "meddling" didn't include highly visible politicians coming in and giving blatant support to one candidate. Russian "meddling" did. Ukrainians resented that and acted accordingly. The new generation of Ukrainians (the youth) are very proud of their heritage and country. They want their country to be independent and self-sufficient (as much as they can be). This doesn't mean that their anti-Russian, but they wanted to be treated as equals and not xoxly.

Give it a month or two and this whole election bruhaha will be forgotten....

zombee
28-12-2004, 16:25
I took a class in Ukrainian at the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. Only 3 people took it, and it was free for all of us because the US State Department is funding students to study Eastern European languages. Our teacher was a dedicated nationalist from Lviv. When she spoke of Russia, it was usually in the context of the Holodimir (the '32 starvation period under Stalin) and Soviet conquest. The Germans put Ukraine under the control of 2 generals; one governed the west of the country and basically tried to integrate Ukraine into the German economy and marshal its young men against the soviets, the other one ruled the East was a typical Nazi sadist. Many Russians to this day think of the western Ukrainians as fascist collaborators and associate the 'Orange revolution' with fascist German sympathies. This despite two prominent Russian Jewish politicians, Nemtsov and Yavlinksi (who was born and raised in Lviv) supporting Yushchenko.

koba65
28-12-2004, 17:40
Originally posted by zombee
I took a class in Ukrainian at the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. Only 3 people took it, and it was free for all of us because the US State Department is funding students to study Eastern European languages. Our teacher was a dedicated nationalist from Lviv. When she spoke of Russia, it was usually in the context of the Holodimir (the '32 starvation period under Stalin) and Soviet conquest. The Germans put Ukraine under the control of 2 generals; one governed the west of the country and basically tried to integrate Ukraine into the German economy and marshal its young men against the soviets, the other one ruled the East was a typical Nazi sadist. Many Russians to this day think of the western Ukrainians as fascist collaborators and associate the 'Orange revolution' with fascist German sympathies. This despite two prominent Russian Jewish politicians, Nemtsov and Yavlinksi (who was born and raised in Lviv) supporting Yushchenko.

Lvov/Lviv is a strange place. I was there in October. The people will refuse to speak Russian to you. They would only speak Russian with me when I explained that I was American and did not know Ukrainian. Lvov now has a street named after George Washington, and (unfortunately) one named after Dzhokar Dudaev... They'll always be anti-Russian no matter who wins the election...

quincy
28-12-2004, 18:00
I was in Lviv/Lvov briefly in 2003 and I found the people a little standoff-ish although the city is beautiful. It actually felt like arriving into a different country when going in from Kiev. It is a pity that anger (against the Soviet Union but also against Poland, an ancient rival) continues to shape the people's attitude in that region. I understand the bitterness against the SU but it is sometimes forgotten that Stalin was not a Russian but a Georgian who inflicted cruelty regardless of nationality. The people in Liviv seem to forget that they would not be in an independent Ukraine but in Poland if it was not for Soviet "expansionism"

J.D.
28-12-2004, 21:44
It was not Soviet expansion that took the Ukraine from the Poles it was the Tsar, Peter the Great I believe.

And they would still be under the Huns(Tatars) if it weren't for the Polish. They didn't like the Huns, they didn't like the Poles, they were mostly not happy under the Russians, they were a bit happy under the Germans being that they were allowed to use their own language again.

Zephyr
28-12-2004, 22:25
Originally posted by koba65
Quincy, the US has been 60 million dollars over the last two years to promote democracy in Ukraine. The money was available to all parties. Yushenko's party and other like-minded parties used more of it than Yanukovich's (allegedly). It's a bit odd that two US Congressmen would want to know about the 60 million that their House approved!?

Ukraine was more split when they were occupied by the Nazis. Today doesn't even come close. Ukrainian society is not as polarized as it seems. The advantage the "orange" had was that there were thousands of students willing and able to take to the streets. The "blues" (Yanukovich's support) found it a bit more difficult to gather. They had to pay some flatheads to come up to Kiev and got some miners together. When push comes to shove, the miners in the Donetsk region will go back to work and put food on their tables rather than run up to Kiev and sit on Maidan Nezavisimosti.

Kuchma and Yanukovich's party really screwed the pooch on this election. The party had a couple of good alternatives (the mayor of Odessa and Yanukovich's former campaign manager) to Yanukovich. Yanukovich couldn't escape his past (or his present it seems). He barely speaks Ukrainian and his Russian isn't that hot either.

A lot has been written and reported about Western "meddling" and Russian "meddling" in this election. The difference is the Western "meddling" didn't include highly visible politicians coming in and giving blatant support to one candidate. Russian "meddling" did. Ukrainians resented that and acted accordingly. The new generation of Ukrainians (the youth) are very proud of their heritage and country. They want their country to be independent and self-sufficient (as much as they can be). This doesn't mean that their anti-Russian, but they wanted to be treated as equals and not xoxly.

Give it a month or two and this whole election bruhaha will be forgotten.... CIA intervention always amazes me, although by now it shouldn't.

koba65
29-12-2004, 00:06
Originally posted by Zephyr
CIA intervention always amazes me, although by now it shouldn't.

Why would that be CIA intervention? If you're a big conspiracy "fan" you would probably believe the CIA would like to see Yanukovich win - he'd be more anti-Western and help the CIA in its quest (if there is such a thing) to increase its budget... I think you're giving the CIA too much credit...

peyote
29-12-2004, 17:46
Originally posted by J.D.
He he knows he can't afford an embargo.

Well, he should know that. liberations are more in fashion these days...

J.D.
29-12-2004, 22:45
Originally posted by peyote
liberations are more in fashion these days...

and profitable