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Results of presidential elections in Ukraine reflect distrust of Poroshenko and his team

23:31 | 02.05.2019 | Analytic

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2 May 2019. PenzaNews. Volodymyr Zelensky, a candidate from the Servant of the People Party, won the second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine, gaining 73.22% of the vote, said the country's Central Election Commission on Tuesday, April 30.

Results of presidential elections in Ukraine reflect distrust of Poroshenko and his team

Photo: President.gov.ua

The current head of state, Petro Poroshenko, has received the support of 24.45% of voters.

The election results were officially announced on on the last legally designated day: in ten days after the voting. In this regard, the headquarters of Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Central Election Commission of deliberately delaying the counting process in order to postpone the inauguration date in order to postpone the date of inauguration and thereby deprive the new president of the opportunity to dissolve the Verkhovna Rada ahead of schedule.

“The artificial delay in the announcement of the CEC results is another attempt by the authorities to avoid shameful punishment for their criminal activities,” the Zelensky headquarters said.

However, according to observers, the situation in the country continues to be tense. In their opinion, it should be borne in mind that the elected president lacks political experience. Moreover, Zelensky’s ability to form an effective team may become even more important issue along with his ability to clearly and unambiguously voice his position on a number of acute problems. This, according to the experts, may be difficult.

Analyzing the situation in the country, David Marples, Distinguished University Professor and Chair, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta, said the election results “were an indictment of both the ruling president and the oligarchic control of Ukraine.”

“The atmosphere in Ukraine after the election is optimistic because for once the country is almost totally united in its choice of candidate. Zelensky was victorious in every region of Ukraine except for Lvov. In the east and south, his received over 85% support, which is a landslide. But while there is hope there is also uncertainty because Zelensky has not indicated clearly what he intends to do,” the expert told PenzaNews.

“Poroshenko selected policies – Army, Faith, Language –were directed toward ideology and nationalism rather than the more basic issues that concerned the people: corruption, poverty, prices, pensions, housing, as well as the conflict in the east. For many Poroshenko, as a rich oligarch, personified many of the things to which they objected. They are very disappointed with the five years that followed the Maidan protests and the removal of former president Yanukovych. Little was done to remove corrupt judges, bring cases to justice or curb the power of oligarchs, and people are poorer today than they were in 2014. Zelensky won because the population wanted change,” David Marples explained.

According to him, the main task of the new Ukrainian president will be getting substantial support of the parliament.

“Before Zelensky can make any significant changes he must establish a viable faction in parliament prior to the elections in October. Otherwise Parliament will block policies they dislike. Thus, the next 4–5 months will be focused on that question,” the analyst said.

In his opinion, Ukraine's new leader may be ready to resume negotiations with Moscow.

“He has not indicated dramatic changes in foreign policy but I believe he is open to talks with Russia about the war in the east and the most likely scenario is a return to the Minsk format, perhaps […] with the participation of the United States,” David Marples said.

“To bring the Minsk Accords to fruition requires changes to the Constitution to provide special status to Donetsk and Luhansk regions. That also cannot happen unless the president has the support of a powerful faction or majority in Parliament. That will be very difficult to attain but it is not impossible,” the expert explained and added that a lot will depend on the cabinet.

Meanwhile, Professor Lubomyr Luciuk, Department of Political Science and Economics, Royal Military College of Canada, blamed Moscow for Ukraine’s problems and said that the “fair and peaceful presidential election just concluded in Ukraine has proven how civil society and democracy thrive in that country.”

According to the analyst, new Ukrainian leader will need strong support from foreign countries and will “no doubt seek further assistance from the US and UK to counter continuing Russian aggression.”

“President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky has promised to strengthen Ukraine's National Anti-Corruption Bureau and will promote investment to strengthen Ukraine's economy,” Lubomyr Luciuk said.

“Despite the lingering trauma of the Soviet experience, Ukraine is returning to its rightful place in Europe, the goal sought by an overwhelming majority of Ukrainians,” he added.

Meanwhile, Russian political scientist Pavel Danilin, Director of the Center for Political Analysis, suggested that “Ukrainians, who in the near future will not receive citizenship of Russia, Poland or Hungary, are going to have a sad future ahead.”

In his opinion, in the foreseeable future “sad events” will take place in the country, in particular, the further growth of nationalism and mass crime.

“In the end, the Ukrainian state will fall apart,” the analyst said.

According to him, Volodymyr Zelensky will not be able to become an independent politician, because he does not have the necessary experience for this.

“He is a puppet, with no doubt. Zelensky will become ‘an obedient dog’ at the feet of [Ukrainian oligarch Ihor] Kolomoisky, who in turn will accurately follow the instructions of Brussels and the United States,” Pavel Danilin said.

In turn, Evgeniya Voyko, Associate Professor of the department of political science at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, shared the view that the victory of Volodymyr Zelensky was the result of the current government’s credibility crisis.

“It was not a vote for Zelensky and his program, which is likely unknown to most of the voters, but a vote against Petro Poroshenko and the system he created. Such choices may be dangerous for a number of reasons. First of all, people may become disappointed with the new president. Zelensky positioned himself as a counterbalance to Petro Poroshenko, his economic, foreign and domestic policy. However, he has no experience in the specifics of political processes, and this creates the threat that his decisions will be significantly influenced by his advisers or some business representatives. This can lead to increased mistrust to the president, political instability and instability among the elites,” she said.

In her opinion, the new head of state will face several challenges including the problems of growth in utility tariffs, relations with the IMF and strengthening of a weak hryvnia.

“Much will depend on internal political and economic processes, as well as relations with Russia, since these issues are closely connected. In particular, this influence the number of Ukrainians who come to Russia to earn money as well as the situation in the energy sector,” Evgeniya Voyko explained.

Another problem, she said, is related to the Minsk agreements and the position that Volodymyr Zelensky will take on the conflict in the south-east of the country.

“He has already said that he wanted the United Kingdom and the United States to join the negotiators within the framework of the Minsk format for resolving the conflict in the Donbas,” the expert added.

According to her, “making numerous overtures to the western interests,” Volodymyr Zelensky “outlined his interests and priorities in foreign policy.”

“Immediately after the election, many European leaders expressed their desire to meet with him, in particular, the leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany, France. He is popular in Europe, they are ready to communicate with him. [...] This suggests that he is considered to be ‘a friend,’ who will continue to promote tough anti-Russian rhetoric, perhaps somewhat different from that of Petro Poroshenko who used radical words and actions. Zelensky will probably be more flexible and soft, but the general line will continue,” Evgeniya Voyko comcluded.

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