Despite a unanimous verdict from international observers that Ukraine’s presidential election was free and fair, Yulia Tymoshenko has continued to accuse Victor Yanukovych of stealing upwards of 1,000,000 votes on his way to victory.
Now, the Orange coalition built around Tymoshenko in the Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, has dissolved, after it failed to prove that it can any longer command a majority.
Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions will attempt to construct its own coalition, in order to implement the programme which Ukrainian voters endorsed at the polls. Tymoshenko has responded by questioning the legitimacy of any arrangement which might emerge.
The new President’s victory has not proved universally popular, but he emerged with a mandate to clear up the mess created by his predecessor Yushchenko and the Rada government led by Tymoshenko.
Ukraine’s politics have long been factional and fragmented, and it is hardly surprising that the prime minister has lost control of the Rada in the wake of the election. Yanukovych’s party is entitled to investigate whether it can form a government.
The vitality and competitiveness of Ukraine’s election has been applauded throughout the world. The people having spoken, however, it is time to put aside the politics of accusation and allow the country to return to normality.
Yanukovych is hardly the world’s slickest politician, but he is reluctant to allow his country to be used as the rope in an endless tug of war between ‘the west’ and Russia. If he sets aside Yuschenko’s anti-Kremlin grandstanding and makes meaningful progress on the economy, then his presidency will benefit Ukraine.