Sunday, May 25, 2014

Clearing the ground - 2

Time to recall the somewhat obscure fact that there are other countries outside the European Union and that they have political events as well. First up, Ukraine, which held a presidential election today though in some parts voting was disrupted severely by pro-Russian separatists. Actually, it is hard to call them pro-Russian because they are not particularly in favour of things Russian, merely in favour (or so they think) of detaching whatever little bit of land they know and attaching it to Russia, whether anybody else likes the idea or not.

Based on exit polls, the Chocolate King, Petro Poroshenko has won an outright victory in the first round with 55.9 per cent of the vote. I have seen some rejoicing among people who still see the Ukrainian problem merely in EU terms as they consider Poroshenko to be pro-Western. This is simplifying the situation. Poroshenko is not exactly an outsider: he is an oligarch who did well under the previous regime (all the previous regimes) and was a Minister in Yanukovich's government. Not a leader of the opposition but a man who is seen as pragmatic and pro-western for good economic and political reasons.

In many ways he is but he is a wily fox and knows full well that he will have to do business with his neighbour in the east. It seems that Yulia Tymoshenko is a distant second, which should not surprise anyone who recalls her disastrous term of political power, regardless of what happened to her under Yanukovich's rule.

Was it really a good idea to take Crimea away and stir up trouble in other places?
No polling stations were open in Donetsk city, and across the region only seven out of 12 district electoral commissions were operating. The separatists are in control of large areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Or, in other words, areas that might have voted for a more pro-Russian candidate were taken out of the equation. Yet another miscalculation on the part of the man a surprising number of people in the West consider to be a political genius. Yes, I am talking about President Putin, the hero of numerous eurosceptics. Though it is true, as the Financial Times points out that the absence of much of eastern Ukraine from the poll, may give the Russian President the excuse not to recognize the results and continue to subvert his neighbour to the west.

It also looks quite likely that the former heavyweight boxing champion and leader of opposition forces, Vitali Klitschko will be the new Mayor of Kyiv.

Let us also not forget that presidential elections are about to happen in Egypt though most of us can work out who is likely to win those. President Sissi may not the worst option for Egypt, Arab Spring or no Arab Spring.

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