Ukraine’s Supreme court will again be the focus of attention today amid speculation it could give a ruling over the country’s political crisis. It is considering complaints of cheating from the government and opposition in last month’s presidential election. The court is expected to finish hearing closing arguments in the coming hours. It could decide that the result of the poll is invalid and call for another ballot.
Supporters of opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko are hoping the judges will recommended that only the second round vote should be re-run. But it could decide the entire election process should restart – opening the field to a range of new candidates.
Yushchenko told his followers in Kiev that that would be like re-running the European Football championship if the final ended in a draw. “No one would recommend replaying the whole cup from the beginning,” he said. That is exactly the option favoured by outgoing President Leonid Kuchma, who has been in Russia for talks with Vladimir Putin.
He backed pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich first time around. But some analysts believe a new poll would allow him to put forward another candidate more acceptable to the whole country. Whatever the court decides, Ukraine is likely to remain deeply divided between the pro-Moscow east which supports Yanukovich and the west which wants closer ties with the EU.