Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reality bites - Third place not second best - It is a loss not a win

Western Ukrainian Media ( has a good overview commentary on the outcome of the first round.  Much of it reflects what we have been saying for  months. The first round of voting is not a contest and third place is a losing position.  Yushchenko will come fifth at best behind Yanukovych, Tymoshenko Yatseniuk and Tigipko.

Even if Ukraine had a preferential voting system Yushchenko would still lose out with a maximum support of 10% to 12%. In a preferential voting system Tigipko might have had a chance of coming up the middle but this is just theory as Ukraine sadly does not use the single round preferential voting system.

Andry Yermolayev: no point to discuss the third runner.
In 2009 politicians and the media did everything to focus the attention on two favorites, Tymoshenko and Yanukovych, who will probably make it to Round 2. As regards the third-place runner, it is no use to forecast who he will be. In the presidential election only the first place matters.

Igor Zhdanov: major wrangling to come after round 1
The course of the election is clear to me: Viktor Yanukovych will win in the first round, leading Tymoshenko by about 10%. As regards the third-place runner, the favorite, Arseny Yatseniuk, has lost much ground and has to compete now with Serhy Tihipko.

Much to the chagrain of Orange voters, Viktor Yanukovych is set to win in the first round. The main wrangling, however, will be in the second round. The win there will depend on how both favorites will attract voters. There are many disheartened voters and many candidates who balkanize voters. Tymoshenko faces an uphill battle as she has to rally the balkanized voters.

The incumbent will find himself in a very ticklish position. Since he is certain not to make it into the second round, he will have to make a difficult choice either to support Tymoshenko or Yanukovych or to call his electorate to vote against all. I rule out that he will support Tymoshenko.  Nor will he openly back up Yanukovych.  Most probably, he will call to vote against all candidates. In doing so, Yushchenko will play out a very simple scenario since voting against all actually means to vote for Yanukovych.

Mykola Mykhalchenko: 6-7% gap in the first round
It is clear that other candidates won’t be able to join the two forerunners, Tymoshenko and Yanukovych.

Volodymyr Fesenko: no other candidate but Tymoshenko and Yanukovych in Round 2
It is quite clear that only Tymoshenko and Yanukovych will vie for the highest office. The third place may go to Tihipko or Yushchenko. The third place has a symbolic meaning – it is a claim for the future, for the parliamentary elections. A third-place winner can bargain with Round 1 winner for posts.

Viktor Nebozhenko: in Round 2 Tymoshenko will outstrip Yanukovych
Tymoshenko and Yanukovych will make it into the runoffs, with Yanukovych leading by 7-10% of the vote. In Round 2 Tymoshenko will not merely catch up with Yanukovych, but will surpass him, winning the presidency. The third place will be contested by Yatseniuk and Tihipko, with Yushchenko being in the 5-th position in the race.