Two former Soviet states recently held elections. You’d be hard pressed to find a common theme.
First, Ukraine. Yulia Timoshenko, who was fired as Ukraine’s prime minister by President Viktor Yushchenko six months ago (see original CA post here), may return to power at the head of a coalition government. Yushchenko’s party came in third place with 17.2 percent. Timoshenko’s bloc had 23.6 percent, and the Regions Party of Viktor Yanukovych held 25.6 percent. Despite the fallout from last year, Timoshenko wants to work with Yushchenko and not Yanukovych, who wants closer ties with Russia. Read more here.
Her party can form a stable coalition, Timoshenko said in an interview today. “This is good for markets,” said Tomas Fiala, managing director at Kiev-based brokerage firm Dragon Capital. “Timoshenko will make a coalition with Yushchenko and the Socialists and she will be prime minister.”
Next in neighboring Belarus, recent presidential elections saw the authoritarian President Lukashenko reelected in a landslide. The election was widely considered to be corrupt. First, Lukashenko had been limited to two terms and would have been constitutionally required to step down in 2006 were it not for a recent referendum. The path is now open for him to stay in power without any term limits. It is unclear how much support the opposition has. Hundreds of protesters have been arrested, although the Belarusian Foreign Ministry claimed Sunday that police had shown restraint and patience. The country has been an economic backwater since the fall of the Soviet Empire, and this election will probably maintain the status quo.