Article by: Taras Klochko
The main sensation of Sunday’s parliamentary elections was not the success of the Samopomich (Selfreliance) party or the very low results of Batkivshchyna (“Homeland” – party of Yulia Tymoshenko — Ed.) but the unexpectedly modest showing of the Poroshenko Bloc.
According to all the exit polls, the Poroshenko Bloc won, as predicted, but the 23%-24% results by no means are what was expected at the party headquarters. (According to latest data, the National Front party appears to be the winner, with 21.9% against Poroshenko Bloc’s 21.6% — Ed.). Against the background of Poroshenko’s first-round victory in the presidential elections and election polling that predicted at least 30% results for his bloc, Poroshenko’s electoral achievement on Sunday appears more than modest. Especially (when compared to the results of the National Front party).
Therefore, the president should seriously consider the reasons for his uncertain victory and to “address the mistakes.” In fact, of all the reasons that brought about a fall in the ratings of the presidential party, three stand out. First — the former Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey. After the tragedy in Ilovaisk, it is completely obvious that the appointment of the chief guardian of the country as minister of defense was a mistake. Not only did Heletey allow the painful defeat near Ilovaisk, but his foolish attempts to shift the blame to the soldiers’ gadgets (cell phones — Ed.) and to give the tragedy of the encirclement the appearance of victory finally convinced the public of his professional incompetence. Actually, Poroshenko should have admitted defeat immediately after Ilovaisk, but he dragged out the dismissal of Heletey until October 14. Of course, it is better late than never, and the decision to return Heletey to his usual post as head of the State Guard Directorate has rectified the situation somewhat, but it was impossible to completely restore what had been lost.
The second reason — the relatively low voter turnout, which represented another anti-record (52.4%, according to recent data — Ed.). In the presidential headquarters they could not have been unaware of voter sentiments, and they should have conducted an active campaign during the final weeks to demonstrate the necessity of voting. But such a campaign did not take place.
The third reason — the head of the National Bank of Ukraine Valeria Hontareva. After war and terrorism, the fall of the hryvnia exchange rate by almost 50% turned out to be the greatest blow for most simple Ukrainians. Hontareva, after four months of work at the National Bank of Ukraine, is remembered primarily for the strange decision to forbid the sale of more than $200 to one person at a time when it was completely impossible to buy the currency at the currency exchanges. Furthermore, the head of the National Bank managed to embarrass herself publicly when she unsuccessfully tried to acquire these $200 in the presence of journalists.
So, we have two of the most painful misfortunes for Ukrainians: the war in the East and the depreciation of the national currency. In both cases, the president’s employees have not shown themselves in the best light, resulting in a fitting outcome for the president in the parliamentary elections.