Billionaire Petro Poroshenko Wins Ukraine Election, So Step 1: Deal With Russia
It looks like citizens of one of the world's most fragile democracies elected a new leader on Sunday. Billionaire Petro Poroshenko won the Ukraine election, declaring victory in a special vote to replace fled president Viktor F. Yanukovych, who jumped ship in February. Yanukovych's abdication in the wake of protests set off a series of events that led to Russia's annexation of Crimea and violent separatist protests throughout the country.
Those same separatists made voting difficult for some citizens of Ukraine on Sunday. Activists shut down voting stations in eastern Ukraine in an effort to block the election, closing voting booths and frustrating disenfranchised Ukrainians. But that didn't stop the election as hoped, and Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated earlier this week that he would respect the outcome of the election, though to be fair, Putin's been saying a lot of things lately, only some of which turn out to be true. In his victory speech, Poroshenko made clear that the separatist efforts didn't stop the election from a result.
Today we can definitely say all of Ukraine has voted, this is a national vote. The first steps that we will take at beginning of presidential office should be focused on stopping the war, to put an end to this chaos and bring peace to a united Ukraine. ... These were the hardest periods in Ukraine’s history, and these elections determine the future of our country. I would like to thank the Ukrainian people who participated and showed record support, and visited all polling stations in these hard conditions.
Poroshenko made his money in candy — no, really — and he was widely expected to win.
Seriously. Forbes called him a "mild-mannered chocolate tycoon." Poroshenko talked a lot about the economy in the lead-up to the election, but he's got much bigger issues to fry, starting with ongoing problems with Russia. No one yet knows whether eastern separatists will recognize the results of Sunday's vote.
And uh, looks like Russia's already seized one of Poroshenko's chocolate factories. Get ready for some negotiations!