Electoral Dysfunction In The Ukraine

Glenn Reynolds has a compendium of links on the electoral problems in the Ukraine as pro-Western candidate Viktor Yushchenko protests against what he and his followers believe was a stolen election.

Already the Ukrainian parliament, the Rada, was unable to meet a quorum to decide the issue and Yushchenko has declared himself President. Determining who the real winner is may be difficult – Yushchenko supporters are stating that the wildly inaccurate exit polls showed that he was the winner, which is meaningless. At the same time, the OESD and US observers are claiming that the election was marred by widespread voter fraud.

It does appear that Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich may have tampered with the elections, but by declaring himself the winner in an extralegal manner Yushchenko may hurt the rule of law in the Ukraine. Should the situation continue to develop in the way it has, he may end up splitting the already divided country even more. Ukraine is a country bisected by a fault-line between pro-Western forces and pro-Russian forces. Since obtaining independence from the USSR, Ukraine has been struggling to find its place in the world order. A victory by Yanukovich would lead the Ukraine away from pro-Western liberal democracy and towards the kind of cronyism and autocracy that threatens the future of many former Soviet republics. While Yushchenko’s actions may be premature, the people of Ukraine have reason to protest, and the future of the Ukraine rests in embracing liberal democracy rather than the rule of former Soviet apparatchiks.

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