The defeated Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has dropped her court case challenging the results from the February 7th presidential election. She had attempted to annul Viktor Yanukovych’s election, citing fraud in a case appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine. Nevertheless, her legal challenge was futile. Ms. Tymoshenko dropped her case on Saturday, February 20, saying that as an ordinary citizen, she can’t find justice in courts of Ukraine.
With Yanukovych’s inauguration set for February 25, Ms. Tymoshenko is now fighting to retain her control of the parliament. The challenge for Mr. Yanukovych is to secure enough votes in the Parliament to support a new Cabinet. Otherwise, he needs to dissolve the Parliament and schedule new elections. To force his hand, Ms. Tymoshenko is attempting to initiate an early session of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) to avert a vote of no confidence to her existing Cabinet.
Mr. Yanukovych is now considering candidates for the post of Prime Minister. He presented a list of three preferred candidates, including businessman and the former Chairman of the National Bank Sergey Tigipko, and former foreign minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Both men unsuccessfully ran for presidency in the first round of this year’s elections.
Yanukovych’s preference, though, may be the former finance minister Mykola Azarov. Ukrainian media repeatedly accused Mr. Azarov of corruption. While Mr. Tigipko and Mr. Yatsenyuk may undertake the necessary austerity measures to revive the economy and have a positive approach toward Euro-Atlantic integration, Azarov prefers stronger governmental control of the economy and is pro-Russian.
Dealing with Russian-Ukrainian ties will be a challenge for the Obama Administration. With an assertive Russia and indifferent EU, it will be difficult, if not impossible for Ukraine to sustain a policy or neutrality, which Mr. Yanukovich seems to advocate.
Co-authored by Khrystyna Kushnir.