The elections of 28 October “have reshuffled the cards of Viktor Yanukovych’s authoritarian regime. This is not a disaster, but the 'Ukrainian dream’ is dying,” writes Lidové Noviny. Two days after the Party of Regions under President Yanukovych won the elections with 31 percent of the votes, the Czech daily regrets that Ukraine has gone back to a mix between the proportional representation and first-past-the post voting systems, which allowed the president to “unleash the vote-buying machine.”

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been lavished on areas where the ruling party candidates have built playgrounds, roads, schools or repaired the hot water pipes. [...] These elections, it seems, were more about money than they were a decision on Ukraine’s future. One vote could be bought for between 100 and 500 dollars, by some accounts. In addition, election day saw a sharp rise in illnesses – among those who could vote at home. In their sick beds, they were visited by selected members of the electoral commission, who, according to observers, were able to put pressure on them and falsify their votes.

Ukraine’s slippage on the road to democracy is criticised by Walburga Habsburg Douglas, the Swedish coordinator of the OSCE observers, notes Lidové noviny. The Prague daily, however, notes that —

Yanukovych didn’t have it entirely his way. He did not get a constitutional majority, nor even a simple majority. He will need the backing of the communists (who came in third) or he will have to open the treasure chest to buy up defectors from other parties (one million euros each, according to estimates) [...] The good news is that voters have made it harder to strike out on a path to a greater concentration of power around Yanukovych or even onto the Belarusian path. Even the extreme nationalist Oleg Tyagnybok managed to get into Parliament. His party, Svoboda, (Freedom), wants to destroy the influence of the “Moskals” (Russians) and “Yids” in the Ukraine. It seems, though, that thanks to the alliance with the opposition bloc grouped around the former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, it is toning down its bellicose rhetoric. [...] Sadly, we must admit that the highly controversial nationalist will be the salt of the earth that can positively influence the composition of the Ukrainian political starter-dough...