The behavior of Ukrainian politicians is influenced by the presidential elections, and we should not forget that they all have different plans and hopes for the presidential campaign. Someone is seriously ready to fight for the presidency, and for some candidates, the presidential campaign is rather a "parliamentary" springboard.
Therefore, analyzing the behavior of the Ukrainian politicians, it is worth keeping in mind the goals set by each of the likely candidates for the presidency.
Number one candidates
Petro Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko have the greatest chances for victory (if we evaluate the potential of the candidates in a comprehensive way, not only based on the results of the polls). The current president's rating keeps at a usual level of the authorities according to the September poll of the Razumkov Center, it is 7%). Poroshenko's chances for victory are explained not only by his high motivation but also by the fact that the president controls the executive vertical, financial resource, broad powers, and also he can use the state budget funds.
Poroshenko has not yet submitted his official program. The only thing that can truly be oriented is the achievements of the first term (for example, a visa-free regime with the European Union and strengthening of the defense capacity), as well as his triad formula "army-language-faith." From the point of view of the pre-election strategy, this means that the president plans to expand the conservative-conformist electorate at the expense of nationalistically oriented citizens.
Yulia Tymoshenko today takes the first place, according to all opinion polls. And, it seems, she has a sufficient financial resource. At the same time, she has two main challenges. Firstly, over the years of political activity, she has made too many enemies. Secondly, she has some problems with the expansion of the basic electorate. On the one hand, her “New course” should bring her some novelty, and on the other, it should convince voters that Tymoshenko still has a reform program.
However, Tymoshenko has to be extremely cautious with the key issue of war and peace. In her public statements, she appears to be an unequivocal supporter of tough pressure on Russia and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk Republics, however, she does not make an emphasis on is. Maybe she is counting on the votes of the Party of Regions electorate in a hypothetical second round?
Single candidate from opposition forces might fight for the victory too. According to the "Rating" group, published on August 22, today 70% of Ukrainians believe that the country is going in the wrong direction. This 70 % are potential opposition voters. The only question is whether the opposition is able to convince millions of citizens who are critical of the current government.
The fact that 70% of Ukrainians are dissatisfied with the current authorities means that the candidate from the opposition has a high chance of securing the second round. But we do not know exactly who would become this single candidate. Potential contenders are Yuriy Boyko, Vadym Novinsky, Olexandr Vilkul, Vadym Rabinovich, Mykhailo Dobkin. And due to this amount, even the "minimum result" might not be achieved by the opposition.
Will the oppositionists win over to their side millions of opposition voters? So far, the first clear working formula, how to consolidate the current opposition, was voiced by Viktor Medvedchuk in an interview with "Strana.ua" - unification around a common platform, not around the individual. At the same time, he added that he did not plan to run for president himself.
The proposal is quite logical, since the conditional voter, who used to support Party of Regions, now really wants to vote not for a person, but for an alternative course of restoring the country as a whole. Therefore, the association around one person will lead to the rejection of a large part of both political elites and voters at the preparatory stage. It is not even a matter of whether it is a good candidate or a bad candidate - one group of voters might just like him, while another one would hate him. For example, according to the poll of the "Rating" group, 8% are ready to vote for "Opposition Bloc," and 7% For Life (Za Zhyttia party, led by Vadym Rabinovich). And we perfectly understand that this difference is formed largely by the attitude towards party leaders.
If the current opposition participates in the elections separately, this campaign has a chance of success only if candidates and leaders of opposition parties conclude a non-aggression pact and coordinate their actions. We are talking about the same consolidation around the interests, ideology, and program offered by Medvedchuk.
There is a special category of candidates who do not have any electoral or administrative chances to win, but they believe that they will simply get the presidential regalia from abroad. These are Anatoliy Hrytsenko and Svyatoslav Vakarchuk. And although such a scenario is not that likely, until we do not exclude it.
Of course, the West would not want to have a completely controlled president but that is not the point here. The objective problem is that it is impossible to create a candidate just by "snapping your finger." Speaking about Anatoliy Hrytsenko and Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, at the moment, the decision on them is not probably elaborated yet. And every day the chances for it are getting smaller. After all, a simulated victory still needs to be implemented technically, financial, organizational, human resources are needed for it... And after all, they cannot appear from scratch. The work should have begun now. Anatoliy Hrytsenko (and especially his wife and companion Yulia Mostova) is trying to raise funds, the sponsors promised to create the party structure... And Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, I think, is just waiting for the starting signal hoping that everything will be done for him.
The only possible option in such conditions is to use the already existing nationwide "electoral machine." But there is no such "machine" now. There is no administrative resource in its usual form; even the elections of Solidarity (Poroshenko’s party) in separate districts and territorial communities were provided with the maximum concentration of resources (not always successfully). The US knows how to count money, and they have a good memory too.
And live for this 2 %
There are also "presidential contenders" who soberly consider their electoral chances. They perfectly understand that they would not win but thanks to participation in the elections, political capital could be multiplied.
In the last presidential election, Oleh Lyashko took the third place, he was able to keep his electorate until the parliamentary elections and successfully "monetized" his personal success in Verkhovna Rada. However, cooperation with the authorities has spoiled his reputation (it is not a secret that Lyashko is suspected of collaborating with Bankova on the orders of his sponsor oligarch Rinat Akhmetov). Still, the upcoming campaign is an excellent occasion for him to remind voters of himself and use the presidential elections as a springboard for elections to the Verkhovna Rada.
Serhiy Taruta and Osnova party (Basis) currently exists primarily in the media space (and is unlikely to have time to create its structures across the country before the elections) expect to attract the votes of Yulia Tymoshenko in the southern and eastern regions. Accordingly, the promotion of Taruta and his party is beneficial to all political groups that oppose Tymoshenko.
We will see other applicants like Volodymyr Zelensky, there might be other candidates, whose purpose will be to steal the votes from the candidates of the first link. If some projects are successful (they will gain at least 2-3 percent).
In general, the fragmentation of Ukraine's political field will lead to a significant number of candidates in this presidential election. As a consequence, during the campaign, the most unusual unions would be formed. And in such conditions, the period between the first and second round would be decisive.
However, the practice of the presidential elections (the most recent example of 2010) shows that those candidates who already can achieve the maximum consolidation of support will get a good chance to win in the second.
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