As the Head of State I accept the choice of Ukrainian people expressed in elections on January 17, 2010.

The most important thing is that the elections were held freely, democratically and legitimately. Ukraine and Ukrainians have demonstrated high electoral standards, being exemplary throughout former Soviet Union. The fact is recognized by numerous international observers. Our nation has once again demonstrated commitment to European values.

Free and democratic nature of elections, I think, is our extremely important achievement, which is the result of five years of my presidency. As the President, and as a Ukrainian I am proud of this fact.

Being the President I have done everything to ensure free expression in Ukraine and ensured freedom of choice and speech without any administrative pressure. Freedom of choice is the essential tool and primary sign of democracy in our country.

The fact of free elections means that the Orange Revolution actually won, and it won not by words, but by deeds.

I would like to repeat: as the President I have complied with my guarantees of freedom of speech, rule of law in the election process and equality of rights of participants of the campaign. There was no blackmailing from the authorities in the election process, there was no persecution or administrative intervention, each candidate had access to the media, all people had equal voting opportunities, which they used, and the atmosphere of first round was generally radically different and more tolerant, than of previous elections in our country.

I thank the representatives of local governments, who in critical economic and financial conditions have facilitated the work of the polling stations. Local authorities have executed the instruction of the President on this issue. I am grateful to all the organizers of the electoral process and members of district commissions for the hard work during this time. I thank the police and security officers, who provided order, thwarted threats and did not allow disruption of the elections.

I thank all the citizens, who voted in these elections.

I thank the voters, who voted for me. I appreciate your conscience. Your votes are votes in favor of Ukrainian European democratic Ukraine. I am deeply convinced that we do not need seasonal moods.

We know that Ukrainian national, democratic, European idea is supported by millions of people, and our whole nation. It is so, and so it always will be. We have a continuous political stance, which says that Ukraine will remain Ukraine. By keeping this stance Ukraine will only strengthen.

 Ahead is a very difficult second round of elections.

It is difficult because although Ukraine has free elections, it doesn’t have choice.

As evidenced by past experience, for both candidates competing for the position of the Head of our state, national, European and democratic values are, in fact, incomprehensible, alien, and far.

In my opinion, the opinion of Ukraine’s citizen, there is no principled difference between the two candidates.

I have fulfilled my democratic obligations as the President of Ukraine, but my commitment to national cause and the state demand me to stay in the political life of Ukraine.

Main subject of protection in Ukraine is democracy. I have told about that many times lately. Only democracy promises us future and perspective. This principle must be protected at any cost.

As President of Ukraine, I remain a guarantor of the Constitution and will put all my efforts in ensuring free, legal and democratic second round of election.

I call the two candidates for presidency to tolerance and rationality - you face the challenge to adequately prepare for the second round and to accept the voters’ choice with dignity.

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