Parliamentary elections in Ukraine: the how’s

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2014/10/22 • Political News

Article by: Yana Polyanska

A record number of Ukrainians have not yet decided whom to vote for at the early parliamentary elections on October 26. Besides, at most districts in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the elections will not take place at all, or are still threatened by disruption. The issue of security of the members of district electoral committees who will be working near the ATO territories remain. These challenges, according to expert opinions, will have the most influence on the next Verkhovna Rada. 

One out of five Ukrainians will not come to vote, and one out of three of those who are planning on voting after all have not decided whom to vote for – such are the prognosis of the experts from Democratic Initiatives Fund and the Kyiv International Sociology Institute. Iryna Bekeshkina, a specialist in the sphere of political and electoral sociology, says that it is record level of in definition for Ukrainian society, therefore it is hard to predict which political powers will become part of the Parliament.

“When we ask whom they will vote for, they say: well, possible for Civil Position, maybe for Samopomich, maybe Poroshenko’s Block, maybe for People’s Front. New political parties are running in the elections, on the same electoral field as well. And it is quite difficult to essentially distinguish them, so the voter has several options,” says Bekeshkina.

How will Donetsk oblast vote?

One of the most important challenges the early parliamentary elections are facing this year is polling in Donbas, the experts are convinced. Out of 21 districts of Donetsk oblast, voting may take place at most polls in 8 districts, and partially in 4 of them, says Oleh Hryshyn, representative of the Voter’s Committee in Donetsk oblast.

“The elections will take place in eight districts: #46, #47 – the centers in the cities of Artemivsk and Slovyansk, #49 – town of Kostyantynivka, #48 – Kramatorsk, #50 – the center in the town of Krasnoarmiysk, #57 and #58 – with us, Mariupol, accordingly, and #59 with the center in the town of Maryinka,” says Hryshyn.

According to the expert, four districts remain under doubt on the territories which are only partially under control of the Ukrainian government, and partially – the armed formations of the unacknowledged republic.

“Most likely it is district #45 – part of this district is on the territory of the city of Donetsk which is not under Ukrainian control, and part is Yasynuvata district, the town of Avdiyivka, which is controlled by our government. Accordingly, districts #52 and #53 are our Horlivka. And district #60 is the town of Volnovakha, part of the territory there is controlled by the terrorists, and part is controlled by the Ukrainian government,” said the expert.

Expert: elections will not take place on territories under mercenary control

Hryshyn also enumerated 9 district of Donetsk oblast which are totally under terrorist control – this makes the elections at almost all local polls impossible:

“#41, #42, #43, #44 districts – city of Donetsk, #51 – Horlivka, #54 and #55 – Shakhtarsk and Makiyivka respectively, #56 – another part of Makiyivka. And #61 is Starobesheva. These are the districts where elections will unfortunately not take place,” he said.

According to the estimates calculated by the Voters’ Committee and civil union Opora, up to half a million of voters will be unable to attend the polls, which constitutes about 45% of the number of voters in Donetsk oblast.

In Luhansk oblast, the elections will be held in 5 out of 11 districts

In Luhansk oblast the elections will be held in 5 districts out of 11: in one district at all polls, and the other 4 will open the polls on the territory governed by Ukraine. This was reports by Olexiy Svetikov, representative of the Voters’ Committee in Luhansk oblast. To his mind, the Luhansk citizens who want to demonstrate their opposition to ‘LNR’ are ready to vote.

“In Luhansk oblast the voters can vote at all polls in district #113. Also on the territory of four districts (#106, #107, #112, #114), the voters will be able to vote only partially. The rest of the territory is controlled by the self-declared ‘LNR’,” he added.

The expert also added that this electoral race is ‘“dirty” for its technologies, in particular, in some places people who do not support the local government are not allowed to work in the district committees.

“Many district committees do not work in district #114. Therefore, due to dirty technologies, the elections may not take place even at the polls where the situation allows for voting,” he noted.

Both VCU representatives noted high competition among majority candidates, as well as the practice of bribing voters in Donbas. They also note that the most intense electoral campaigns are run by Petro Poroshenko’s Block, Oppositional Block, People’s Front, Oleh Liashko’s Radical Party and Serhiy Tihipko’s Strong Ukraine. Ole Hryshyn also noted that the billboards for Tihipko’s party are present even in the city of Donetsk, which is practically occupied by mercenaries and cut off from the electoral race.

CEC: over 190 thousand Ukrainians have changed their polling location 

Over 190 thousand Ukrainians have already changed their polling location, including over 30 thousand from Donbas, reports the Central Electoral Committee. Civil union Opora analyst Olexandr Kliuzhev, when answering Radio Liberty’s questions, said that this is more than at the previous presidential elections. The expert also says that the people did not have sufficient access to information to find out that they can cast their vote even outside of their place of residence.

“We managed to ensure the possibility for those who were motivated and ensure their opportunity to vote. The number grew by about 50 thousand, if I am not mistaken, compared to the presidential elections,” Kliuzhev adds.

Who will end up in the Verkhovna Rada? 

At least three exit polls will be held in Ukraine in all oblasts besides Russian-occupied Crimea.

However, tentative prognoses regarding which parties will go to the Parliament are already known. The results of studies done by various sociological centers published in the past weeks define the following tendencies.

All centers, without exception, give Petro Poroshenko’s block first place, predicting between 30% and 40%. The prognoses diverge further, however the following places are divided among Arseniy Yatseniuk’s People’s Front, Oleh Liashko’s Radical Party, Ukrainian Union Batkivshchina, Civil Position lead by Anatoliy Hrytsenko. Oleh Tiahnybok’s Svoboda, Serhiy Tihipko’s Strong Ukraine and the Communist Party of Ukraine are balancing on the 5% barrier. According to recent studies, Andriy Sadoviy’s Samopomich and Yury Boyko’s Oppositional Block may become part of the Rada.

Political expert: Russia will destabilize the situation in Donbas before the elections

According to politics expert Olexandr Paliy, Russia will use these elections to destabilize the situation in the East of Ukraine. To his mind, the conflict may escalate on Donbas in the nearest future.

“Moscow will try to influence the result. Before the elections we will witness sabotage activities by Russian terrorists in Donbas. For example, to get this Oppositional Block to pass. Moscow will insist that these terrorists and ‘Yanukovich powers’ who earlier supported the terrorists become part of the government,” says the expert.

The early parliamentary elections will take place on October 26, 2014.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Source: Radio Liberty

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  • Dean Venture

    Good luck with your elections tomorrow, Ukraine! I hope you get a government with the courage and wisdom to set things right!