Kyiv city mayor Vitaliy Klitschko is having difficult times. The new president spoke about the early elections of the capital’s head, for which Zelensky’s team will nominate its candidate. And it would not be Klitschko. It would seem that the signal has been sent, but the topic is closed at least until July 21, until Ukraine’s snap parliamentary elections. Because only the Verkhovna Rada has an authority to announce elections in the capital.
And recently, this issue has become topical again. Andriy Bogdan, the head of the Presidential Office, said that he would like to separate the posts of mayor and head of the Kyiv State Administration. Klitschko has been hinted that his end might be near. Because, in addition to holding early elections, Zelensky has another plan, he wants to cut the powers of the Kyiv mayor.
In a recent conversation with RBC-Ukraine, Bogdan noted that he would like the city budget to be looted. It sounded like a kind of accusation against Klitschko. Allegedly, the theft is a reason for separating the chairs of the city mayor and the chairman of the Kyiv State Administration. At the same time, when asked whether the positions would be reconsidered, Bogdan replied: "I do not know."
He also added that there was a tacit agreement with Klitschko: "Kyiv mayor demonstrates an open, honest, pro-state position on economic and political issues," and for that "we will make a personnel decision on it." If Klitschko does not do all this, then Zelensky will also have a "personnel decision." “But these will be different personnel decisions,” Bohdan stresses.
Klitschko decided to demonstrate Zelensky that he is confident and is not afraid of elections. Moreover, he is ready to initiate them. But only if the president implements his plan and divides the mentioned posts of. Klitschko notes that this is not about names, but about principles.
“Zelensky would like to receive power in Kharkiv, Dnipro, and Odesa, but he does not have enough power to dismiss Kernes, Trukhanov or Filatov (current city mayors). And in Kyiv, there is such an opportunity, besides, Kyiv is strategically more important. Therefore, today Klitschko is frightened, and in turn, he defends himself and says that he would not allow separating the offices," Vadym Karasiov, director of the Institute of Global Strategies, says.
According to Karasiov, Zelensky will promote one of these two options: early mayoral elections or separation of the offices. The latter is necessary in case the president’s person loses the races for the capital. With this option, Zelensky will have a safety net in his hands. In addition, Zelensky also wants to control the city council," the expert adds.
To implement this plan they take some careful steps. Karasiov explains: the question of the separation of the offices is decided by the president in consultation with the prime minister. And consequently, Zelensky needs the support of Volodymyr Groysman, and he has provided himself with it. This might be evidenced by the fact that governors, elected by Zelensky, are quite easily appointed. After all, in order to reassign the heads of the regional state administrations, the head of the Cabinet should be for it.
It seems that Groysman and Zelensky have already agreed on everything, but loud words and theatrical gestures are a thing of the past. The president is not trying to kick away the current prime minister, and the latter demonstrates his loyalty. “It is rumored that Zelensky’s team is no longer opposed to Groysman as a prime minister after the elections,” says Karasiov.
Knockout for Klitschko
Zelensky has discussed several options for what would happen after the parliamentary elections. Because, besides the parliament, he still has a problem with the local elections. They cannot be held everywhere but in some cities. First of all, we are talking about the capital of Ukraine. For it is clear that those who control Kyiv control the whole country because our revolutions originate from Kyiv. Taking all this into account, it can be said with almost 100% certainty that early elections for the Kyiv city mayor would be held.
At the same time, Vadym Karasiov is convinced that Zelensky is absolutely not satisfied with Klitschko’s candidature. "Because Klitschko is close to different groups, while Zelensky wants 100% loyalty," he explains.
But, for example, political scientist Andriy Zolotariov tells us that Zelensky can rely on Andriy Vavrish, the former head of the Department of Urban Development and Architecture of the Kyiv State Administration, and a close friend of Serhiy Tselovalnik, chief architect of Kyiv.
Against the backdrop of Vavrish, Vitali Klitschko will probably be a pretty good option. Or, at least, the "lesser evil." However, the current mayor has another problem. “Those people, who are in the current Kyiv City Council now, and who used to support Klitschko, are now trying to prolong their political career in the teams of the other parties. A certain overflow of personnel is occurring,” Bogdan Petrenko notes.