‘One leader, one state’ was the slogan that hauled Viktor Yanukovich to victory. The leader of the Party of the Regions has promised a strong, independent and neutral Ukraine, whose ‘real enemy is poverty.’ It is a clear message that Ukrainians have little problem understanding.
2009 was a catastrophe for Ukraine’s economy. It shrank by 15 per cent. The budget deficit ballooned to between eight and 10 per cent, and foreign investment collapsed 50 percent, compared with 2008.
The global crisis has highlighted Ukraine’s weaknesses. A former president Leonid Kuchma said: “We are in debt. Getting out will be so hard and long that I don’t envy the future president and the future government.”
Now the president is known, the question for the Ukrainian electorate has turned to who will be Prime Minister.
One Russian analyst, Nikolai Petrov, said it is not going to be a decision for the president on his own.
“I’m waiting for Yanukovich to rule just as Her Majesty in Britain, in the sense, he will not participate in decision making in daily basis, and he will represent the country, and it depends a lot on who exactly will rule on behalf of Yanukovich.”
But Ukrainian analyst Andriy Okara doubts that the election will put an end to Ukraine’s political paralysis.
“I expect a long campaign of recounts, that’ll end with a ‘cartel agreement’ — where power will be carved up between the Yanukovich and Tymoshenko camps,” Okara said.
It is likely the battle will continue to be played out in the parliament, where Yulia Tymoshenko is still Prime Minister, and still holds a slim majority. But the parliamentary elections are due in September next year.