Expected Election Fraud in Ukraine Avoided

By Andrey Volkov
Andrey Volkov
Andrey Volkov
January 18, 2010 Updated: January 19, 2010

International observers say that the first round of Ukrainian elections was relatively democratic, despite some violations that will not have a strong impact on the results.

Viktor Yanukovich won with 35 percent of the votes Sunday, a political comeback for the opposition leader. He was 11 points clear of his main rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, who got 24 percent of the votes. As neither won 50 percent they will face off in a final election on Feb. 7.

Incumbent president, Viktor Yushchenko, took a dive into fifth place with only 5.4 percent of the votes.

Among the violations, observers noted, was confusion with voter lists, unclear rules for members of electoral commissions, and polling stations, as well as the poor organization of their activities.

The disorganization is linked to the frequent changes of personnel, according to election observers from Europe. More than 3,000 observers have been registered from all over the world.

"All the changes at the last minute can cause many difficulties," Matyas Eorsi, head of the delegation of the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, told reporters on Monday in Kyiv.

Negotiations are expected between the top runners and those who took the third, fourth, and fifth seats. Most candidates positively evaluated the first round of voting.

"All the candidates have every chance to unite before the second round of elections," Tymoshenko said in an earlier interview.

She promised all candidates who cast their votes to her in the second round that their programs and ideas would be implemented.