Ukrainian voters “powerfully and irreversibly” supported the country’s path to Europe, says president Petro Poroshenko
Pro-western Ukrainians on Sunday won an important victory for the future of their country, which is still threatened by war and division. President Petro Poroshenko, who called these early parliamentary elections, said that more than three quarters of the people who turned up at the polls have expressed their powerful and irreversible support for Ukraine’s course towards Europe. The government in Kiev thus won a convincing vote of confidence from the people, Poroshenko also said. According to the projected outcome, five pro-western parties won around 70% of the total number of votes cast.
The Poroshenko Bloc, which also includes the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform led by the former boxer Vitali Klitschko, won over 20% of the votes, followed by the People’s Front, led by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and the Samopovich Party, made up of civil society activists and combatants from eastern Ukraine. Both Samopovich and the People’s Front are in favour of a tougher offensive against the pro-Russian separatists in the east.
The Opposition Bloc, which brings together the allies of the former president Viktor Yanukovych, won 8% of the votes, exceeding the 5% required to enter Parliament, unlike the Communist Party, which only won 3%. Other parties in the new Ukrainian Parliament include the Ukrainian Radical Party, the nationalist Svoboda Party and Batkivshchyna, led by the former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Voter turnout stood at almost 40%.
Around 5 million voters of Ukraine’s 36 million were unable to cast their votes in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in March, and in the areas controlled by the separatists, in the east. France Presse news agency notes that the outcome of the vote is the biggest achievement since the country’s independence in 1991 and comes after six months of conflict in the east of the country between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian rebels, in which 3,700 people have been killed so far.
Ukrainian voters stood for a peaceful and political solution to the armed conflict with the pro-Russian rebels in the east, said president Poroshenko on Sunday. He also hailed the decline of the Communist Party, which will no longer be in Parliament for the first time since Ukraine’s independence. Poroshenko now looks forward to the publication of the official results, the creation of a new parliamentary coalition and the formation of a new government, with current Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk likely to stay on, according to commentators.