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Top five tips for Petro Poroshenko on how to win elections

Author : Natalia Lebed

Criticizing the incumbent president for a series of fatal blunders, political scientists and consultants nevertheless note that not everything is lost for Petro Poroshenko. But he needs to act very quickly
23:28, 8 April 2019

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko
Presidential Administration press office

Summing up what has been said in the expert environment, we have made the top five tips for Petro Poroshenko (the realistic ones) on how to bring the victory in the second round of elections closer. Or at least try to do it.

1. Mobilize voters

The debate between the finalists of the presidential race should have one goal. And this goal does not involve exposing the opponent in the most unfavorable light. If your opponent is disgraced, then this is an additional bonus, but not the main goal. During the last five days, the team of Poroshenko showed that he was thinking negatively, that is, he was in search of means to humiliate his counterpart. This is the wrong tactic before the last act. As Vadym Karasiov, the director of the Global Strategies Institute, notes, "elections are not a question of eloquence. People are tired of empty words. It’s not about slogans or even competence, but trust. The debate has nothing to do with the choice Ukrainians did."

Related: Key Yanukovych’s ex-sponsor Akhmetov bets on Poroshenko during 2019 elections


But every sixth Ukrainian made a choice in favor of the current president. Is it realistic to double the number of Poroshenko’s voters - even in the 2.5 weeks that remain until the second round? This is an extremely difficult task, but a real one. This is where the TV debates come in handy. The president should go to them with a positive program that will impress many people. No bad shots, and therefore it is not necessary to once again raise the topic of Tomos, the church and the faith, which obviously did not work due to its archaic and irrelevance. It is not worthwhile to promise quick "reforms" again - perhaps it is worth putting a temporary taboo on this word. What then should be said to the people? The main task of the second round is to win the voters who supported the outsider candidates.

2. Enlist the support of outsider candidates

And for this, it is worthwhile to establish good relations with candidates who have dropped out of the race. And not only with the candidates. Political analyst Viktor Nebozhenko recalls, for example, about singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, who, apparently, is more sympathetic to Poroshenko. A pool of recognizable and rating individuals (those who are also called “moral authorities”) would help the presidential candidate. However, it was necessary to think about the support group in advance. Like many other things - in particular, the adoption of a law that makes the debate binding. Political consultant Ruslan Bortnyk pays attention to the last point, adding that no one from Poroshenko’s entourage waited for Zelensky in the second round, but this does not change the simple fact. The election legislation in all its nuances should be clearly regulated long before the beginning of the elections themselves, and this is an axiom.

Related: Poroshenko appoints his associate Parashchenko as acting Odesa region Governor


As for the support of candidates who have dropped out, they should not just call on their electorate to reorient themselves to another politician. They are expected to be active, in fact – in the “door-to-door” mode. "Party leaders must travel around the regions and campaign," says Bortnyk. Another thing is what they will want to get for their support. Harnessed in another campaign, they greatly risk their own reputation in parliamentary elections. And so the stakes in this game will be high. But politics is politics, and the price of the issue must be worked out and weighed in advance. Actually, it is still not too late to sit at the negotiating table with the most influential players.

3. Find new information resources

The next item is closely related to the first. The acting head of state, by virtue of his status, had sufficient access to media resources. But in the matter of elections, not a single “speaker” is superfluous. The fact that the president will need new information platforms is indicated, for example, by the executive director of the Center for Public Relations Yevgen Magda. The last weeks before the second round is a period of maximum mobilization. And only the Telegram channel that Petro Poroshenko created is not enough here. Actually, digital technology is good, but television plays a decisive role in forming public opinion. So, agreements with the main TVmagnates are the must-haves that should always be at the disposal of a top politician.

Related: Ukraine's presidential elections 2019: Lukashenko expects Poroshenko wins in second round

4. Engage Parliament

The next recommendation is probably not so simple. The founder of the Gorshenin Institute analytical center Kost Bondarenko in the commentary noted that the enhanced work in parliament between the first and second rounds will not have an effect. And, for example, the adoption of a long-promised law on the removal of parliamentary immunity will not improve the image of the head of state. After all, an ordinary voter, in fact, doesn’t care if the deputies have immunity or not, because it doesn’t directly affect the life of the average person. However (we note) the voter's life (and his attitude towards the candidate) is significantly influenced by the politician’s ability to be true in his words.

And therefore, it would probably not be superfluous to draw up a short list of laws, the need for which has long been overdue and even overripe. And then force the parliament to work on them - even in the mode of unscheduled meetings. Let us recall, for example, how, taking up the position in 2014, Petro Poroshenko promised to reduce the tax pressure on business and “block offshore companies”, which was not done. Another story is related to the reform of the electoral system and the transition to voting in parliamentary elections on open lists. This very, very old promise is also waiting to be realized.

Related: CNN calls presidential campaign in Ukraine "sensational" and "surrealistic"


Another promise could be the dismissal of a number of odious current officials who are appointed by the Verkhovna Rada on the proposal of the President of Ukraine. It would be a good test of flexibility for the current leader and his ability to capture the mood prevailing in society. As Ruslan Bortnyk says, "the request for Zelensky is not regional, but social. This proves that Zelensky received victory throughout Ukraine, except Galicia. The request is for social protection and justice, and only then - for the archaic things like faith, church, etc. " Bortnyk adds that voter turnout may increase during the second round, because it will be a question of voting "for the president, and not for his candidate." Therefore, it is necessary that Poroshenko becomes president for the overwhelming majority of citizens, and not for their part.

5. Rely on the West

At the same time, however, it is important that Petro Poroshenko had a good image in the West. All his existing authority should now be used to enlist the support of a democratic world. This is noted by Kost Bondarenko. “Much will depend on the consolidated position of the West,” he says. Poroshenko's recognition outside the country and the status of the first person is a great trump card, which his opponent has nothing to cover with. But on the other hand, it will be very difficult to attract VIP agitators from the West, because this can be regarded as interference in the elections, and Western politicians will not accept this.

Related: Who's ready to compete with Trump for US presidency in 2020?

* * *

In any case, Petro Poroshenko has a lot to work on - using someone else's experience or not. His only problem is the time that goes too fast. Indeed, April 21 is near... On the night of the vote, Poroshenko’s associates told the press that they had an “hourly plan of actions,” presented in two folders. One folder is red (in case of Yulia Tymoshenko entering the second round), and the second one is green. Well, it's time to put the red folder into the archive, and open the green folder and act on the backup scenario. If only it really exists.

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