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Transfer for the president: Where will Poroshenko be after losing election?

Author : Natalia Lebed

If now Petro Poroshenko is not under the threat of criminal prosecution, then he is at least under its shadow
21:31, 23 April 2019

Petro Poroshenko, the current President of Ukraine
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After the announcement of the election results, a tough joke appeared on the Net: “Who will now play the president in the 95 Kvartal show? (Zelensky played in this show earlier, - Ed.) Let's offer this role to Poroshenko!”. Many political experts started to comment and predict the political future of the current president, who will very soon become the former one. Political scientists with whom our publication spoke, pointed to two things. What awaits Petro Poroshenko in the future will depend on 1) the date of the parliamentary elections, 2) the absence or presence of criminal proceedings against him or his close associates.

Everything else — and what Poroshenko had planned for himself and what his successor Zelensky had promised, are in fact only declarations. After all, completely different factors will determine future events.

Threats

If now Petro Poroshenko is not under the threat of criminal prosecution, then at least under its shadow. Political expert Andriy Shkil, who now lives in France, noted that the leading local media are waiting for a wave of arrests that could cover the former elite.

An unexpected activity of the General Prosecutor’s Office, which on April 22 (the day after the election) called for interrogation the former head of the presidential administration, Boris Lozhkin, the deputy head of the presidential administration, Oleksiy Filatov, and the ex-head of the National Bank, Valeriya Hontareva. Investigative actions must be carried out within the framework of Serhiy Kurchenko case. But earlier the GPO stated: suspicions for the entourage of President Petro Poroshenko were drawn up illegally, and the investigators did not have evidence of the crimes of Hontareva (Valeria Hontareva, Ukraine's former National Bank head, - ed.), Lozhkin (Barys Lozhkin, former head of Poroshenko's administration, -ed.), and Filatov (ex-deputy head of president's administration, -ed.).

With this unexpected turn, the absence of the Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko in the election headquarters of his patron on April 21 also resonates. Such a demonstrative detachment from the affairs with a person who provided Lutsenko with a prosecutor’s office was too much striking. However, the deputy director of the Ukrainian Institute for the Study of Extremism, Bogdan Petrenko, says that Lutsenko might not have come, because the president himself asked him about this.

But it seems that at the time of defeat Poroshenko should be indifferent to how the guests of the headquarters and the viewers perceive the presence of Lutsenko. However, without coming personally, Yuriy Lutsenko wrote a post on his FB page, in which he thanked Petro Poroshenko for his work. At the same time, the Prosecutor General allowed himself familiarity with the President of Ukraine.

Whether such familiarity brought additional semantic load is difficult to judge. In any case, if Mr. Lutsenko was expecting a certain signal from the not yet “crowned” Zelensky, then such a signal would not be slow to appear. Zelensky noted that Prosecutor Lutsenko - "this is an old team, we will appoint new people." In short, Lutsenko will not succeed to convict Poroshenko for sure. And what about others?

Related: No Servant of People party in Ukrainian Parliament, - Zelensky speaker


Igor Kolomoisky believes that for a new power it is definitely not necessary to pursuit Poroshenko. “When a person was in the final of the presidential election, he is already the subject of political life, and this will be perceived as political persecution. Therefore, I don’t think that the new government needs to make the same mistake as Yanukovych did in 2011. Whatever he was, he is the former president of the country. It’s time to close the Pandora’s box of political persecution,” Kolomoisky said in an interview with Economic Truth.

Arguing on this topic, the director of the Third Sector analytical center Andriy Zolotariov notes that Poroshenko most likely "received certain guarantees of immunity from external partners. But it’s not a fact that such guarantees apply to his surroundings. And it may hit him harder than any invectives in the media. For if you are not able to protect “your own people,” then this is not conducive to rallying around you. ”

“We don’t know how the new president’s team will act - it’s likely that, having persecuted  Gladkovsky, a criminal case will be initiated against Poroshenko,” warns Vadym Karasev, director of the Institute of Global Strategies. However, according to Anatoly Oktisyuk, political expert of the Democracy House Analytical Center, "Poroshenko is very pragmatic. Therefore, he will have his own quota in parliament, and he will not go anywhere from Ukrainian politics. And if the new government will try to initiate criminal proceedings against Poroshenko, he will use it as a defense tool - will scream about repression and the like."

Related: What Zelensky's victory means for Belarus


But let's assume there will be no repression. Poroshenko will be able to calmly prepare for parliamentary elections. What awaits him in the fall?

Loneliness

Shortly before the vote, the mass media wrote that Poroshenko’s team has a “B” plan in case of loss. This plan is simple, and Poroshenko himself has already announced it - to prepare for elections to the Verkhovna Rada in the fall of the current year. More specifically, to increase the capacity of the presidential Solidarity party by joining Speaker Andriy Parubiy and the NSDC Secretary Olexandr Turchynov to it. And also to join the group "UDAR" of Vitaly Klitschko.

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However, neither Paruby, nor Turchynov, nor Klitschko (nor Prime Minister Groysman — let's add him either) appeared at the electoral headquarters of Petro Poroshenko. True, everyone except Turchynov managed to say encouraging words and express gratitude to him on the social networks. But the virtual team that does not leave the cozy Facebook space hardly needs Poroshenko. Will there be "living" people ready to be with him "both in joy and sorrow"?

Volodymyr Groysman has already announced that he will go to the autumn elections with his political force. Talk about the rebirth of "UDAR" has also been going on for a long time.


With this, the expert adds, Poroshenko is different from his long-time opponent Yulia Tymoshenko. And it’s the worse difference. Yulia has a “nominal” party, but there is one nuance. “Poroshenko is counting on the fact that he can occupy the niche of the democratic opposition, pushing Tymoshenko out of there. But Tymoshenko has created a powerful party machine, and not at the expense of administrative resources, but from the bottom - from territorial communities,” says Karasev.

Related: EU awaits cooperation with Ukraine and its new leader, - Tusk


His colleague Ruslan Bortnyk even before the elections predicted that in case of defeat of  Poroshenko, his political force would not survive this. "The party will break up into groups of Groysman, Klitschko, majoritarians and those deputies who will look for themselves in third parties, possibly completely new ones." It is likely that this is exactly what will happen. And then it will not matter how worthy Petro Poroshenko will survive his defeat. Suffering silently next to the ex-president is definitely not the way for his recent colleagues and subordinates.

And besides, even if all the friends of the president leave him tomorrow, it will not matter for his electoral prospects. “The rating of Poroshenko’s comrades-in-arms will not affect the rating of his party. He can invite other people - as Zelensky did. Everything will depend on the principles on which his election list will be formed,” said expert.

The main thing is the date

And Poroshenko needs the parliamentary elections to be held as soon as possible. Holding early elections or not - Volodymyr Zelensky has not yet decided this. More precisely, as he said himself, "I am afraid that I will not have time." In other words, the relevant team has such a desire, but the time frame for its implementation is too narrow.

At the same time, experts say, both Zelensky and Poroshenko are interested in postponing the election date from October to July-August. Zelensky wants an election until his ultra-high rating cracks, and Poroshenko - until the electorate has forgotten him at all.

Bogdan Petrenko calculates Poroshenko’s percentages: he takes half of what the acting head scored not in the second, but in the first round. “In the current elections, Poroshenko won 15% of the votes in the first round, and although his personal rating does not go to the rating of his party, the sooner the parliamentary elections are held, the more opportunities he has to hold his political force in parliament. In any case, his part has the chances of overcoming the electoral barrier or even take 50% of what Poroshenko received in the first round. Although I think that Poroshenko’s will refuse from the previous name of the party, ”the expert comments.

Related: Ukraine’s Embassy demands apologies from Czech media for article about Zelensky


And Anatoliy Oksityuk believes that Poroshenko has a chance to get a small cozy fraction and stay in it for the next five years. “If we talk about the future prospects of Petro Poroshenko in Ukrainian politics, then we can say unequivocally that he is unlikely to qualify for the premiership. But he will succeed in holding his own faction in the Verkhovna Rada if it will be early parliamentary elections. He will be able to start his own, even a small fraction, where everyone will be loyal to him, that is, "his people," he says.

He adds that the success or failure of the Poroshenko’s party in the elections will also depend on how much Zelensky will lose his rating. Responding to a request to comment on the prospects for the Poroshenko’s Solidarity, expert says: “This is a difficult question, the answer to which will depend, among other things, on Zelensky’s activities, because if the latter doesn’t have a catastrophic collapse of the rating, then things are bad for Poroshenko. His electorate, collected in the first round, will be dispersed to the right-wing parties, to new projects."

Related: Hungarian PM Orban congratulates Zelensky on victory in elections


Thus, Vadim Karasiov sums up, it is possible that Petro Poroshenko "will be just a retired president." Well, at one time, when he retired, Leonid Kuchma willingly told reporters that with the departure from the state job, he had more time for his beloved cat Nyusik, for whom President No. 2 personally caught fish. Therefore, sometimes rest after all political upheavals can be both enjoyable and rewarding.

Although the power just does not let go of those who have ever felt its taste. Perhaps that is why yesterday, in front of his supporters, Poroshenko promised to return to Presidential administration at the next presidential election.

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