Ukraine Opposition Prepares to Govern

IT WAS SUPPOSED to be over - a new, legitimate presidential election, and victory, according to most indicators, for opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko. He did win, taking 52 per cent of the votes compared to 44 per cent for Viktor Yanukovich.

Ukraine Opposition Prepares to Govern

IT WAS SUPPOSED to be over - a new, legitimate presidential election, and victory, according to most indicators, for opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko. He did win, taking 52 per cent of the votes compared to 44 per cent for Viktor Yanukovich. But Yanukovich - who at week's end stepped down as prime minister - refused to accept the result. And so the Orange Revolution continued, with Yushchenko supporters blockading government headquarters.

Borrowing a page from the opposition's book, Yanukovich turned to the country's Supreme Court, which had nullified the fraudulent Nov. 21 vote and ordered the second runoff. Citing voting irregularities - claims that contradicted foreign observers - Yanukovich wanted the results declared invalid. The justices turned him down, as did the Central Election Commission, with which Yanukovich had also lodged complaints. But Yanukovich said further legal challenges would follow, although he held out little hope of success. Yushchenko, meanwhile, prepared for governing - leaving little doubt that he intended to sweep away as much of outgoing president Leonid Kuchma's regime as possible. Among his plans: replacing the 10 governors in eastern Ukraine who had threatened to form an autonomous region if the opposition won.

Maclean's January 10, 2005