…followed by unity
Whether it's Petro Poroshenko, Yulia Tymoshenko, Volodymyr Zelenskiy or any of the other candidates, Ukraine will have only one elected president come April 22 for the next five years. We will have to unite behind this person. We need all losing candidates, all Ukrainians and all foreign friends to unite around a common set of principles, be open to compromise in solving our differences and forge ahead with the hard work ahead of building a democratic nation with a robust economy.
Ukraine cannot afford to move from one campaign to the next — the one for parliamentary elections in October — right after Election Day.
Ukraine has a war to fight and an economy to build. It has a debt of $13 billion to pay this year alone, more in future years, and it must find ways to stop the exodus of so many hundreds of thousands of its brightest and most talented people who have given up and gone abroad.
To do that, we must support the next president, assuming the person upholds democratic principles and doesn't veer towards the authoritarianism of the past.
For this to happen, the victor needs to be magnanimous and reach out to the losers, recognizing that the president represents the whole nation — not only those who supported him or her. The losers, in turn, must dial down their divisive rhetoric, find shared goals with the winner, and work together to make them happen. Tragically, Russia has shown Ukraine what can happen if we let our divisions get the best of us.