Image by Minirobot via FlickrDespite yesterday's post about the end of Ukraine as an independent state for all practical purposes, the election remains interesting in that it truly appears to be an exercise in free voting without the rigging, abuse of administrative powers and other manipulative excesses that were so transparent in 2004. That, I guess, says something about the candidates at the top, as well as for Victor Yuschenko. Russia could take some lessons.
With Yanukovych heading for about a 35% win and Tymoshenko 10 points behind, the February run-off is by no means assured for Yanukovych. The trading and promises are about to begin and the 35% really represents the limit of his popularity. Perhaps he can strip off another 5% - 7% from other parties, like the Communist Party, but I believe he would be pushing the edge of the envelope if he does so. I can't go as far to say that he will lose to Yulia, but the possibility is there and I give her more than an even chance of negotiating better deals and getting the 50% +1.