Ukraine’s united opposition has decided on a single candidate who would run as a president in 2019. This is co-chairman of Opposition bloc party Yuriy Boyko. Of course, now this is country’s key political news because now the presidential race participants list contains the name of a real contender for the second round or even for a victory.
After the Maidan and the collapse of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, its traditional electorate, situated in the south-east of the country, was, in fact, deprived of the decision-making. Many Donbas residents were cut off from Ukraine by the line of demarcation, some were disappointed with the situation and decided not to participate in the elections. Under these conditions, 9.43% of the Opposition bloc at the parliamentary elections in 2014 meant that there was a request for a powerful opposition force in the country. By the way, Lady Fortuna has smiled upon Vadym Rabinovich (For Life party leader), who demonstrated a good result in the presidential elections.
During these four years, the opposition-oriented electorate in Ukraine has noticeably increased. The difficult economic situation in the country and the incomprehensible policy of the authorities disappointed the Ukrainians. At the same time, some political forces that positioned themselves as oppositional were connected with the authorities yesterday, and therefore do not enjoy the trust of the citizens. Under such conditions, the potential of a truly oppositional political force in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019 is very high, although underestimated by some political experts.
If we talk about the presidential campaign, the main problem for the opposition was the lack of a single candidate who could rely on the electorate of the southeast and then unite the protest voices of the Ukrainians in order to challenge the race’s favorites. Several candidates from Opposition bloc, as well as Vadym Rabinovich. But the problem is that there are not that many votes, so this is time for negotiations.
Vadym Rabinovich took the initiative into his own hands. To strengthen the position in the negotiation process, he invited the Ukrainian choice leader Viktor Medvedchuk to his team. Thus, two most prominent opposition politicians of the last years, Boyko and Rabinovich, have signed a declaration on uniting their efforts and creating an Opposition Platform, and then demonstrated that their readiness to give up their personal ambitions. At first, Yuriy Boyko stated that he was ready to support another candidate, if the Board of the Opposition Platform decides so. Then Rabinovich refused to nominate his candidacy for the sake of the common cause.
In fact, this is a rare case for Ukrainian politics. Our politicians are more likely to follow their own ambitions rather than unite.
So, the creation of the Opposition Platform and the nomination of a single candidate for the presidential election is not just a beautiful picture for the media.
First, in terms of a very dense election race, where the second most popular candidate is supported by only 10% of future voters, a single candidate from the opposition might gain more than 10%.
Secondly, the Ukrainians in the south-east of the country are finally getting a clear ideological agenda – ending the Donbas war, normalizing relations with Russia, getting rid of the external control. Now it is the only formed response to the ideological request of the opposition voter. “Our association, which in the presidential, parliamentary, and local elections will represent the interests of the residents of the southeast, the Russian-speaking population, and all those who understand the need for a radical change in the policy of the current government, has become a reality,” Viktor Medvedchuk, head of the Political Council of the For Life party said. However, the opposition has not submitted its economic program.
Thirdly, following the laws of gravity, the appearance of a heavyweight player will necessarily gather smaller ones around it. Ukraine’s Development Party, headed by Yuriy Miroshnychenko, has already joined the Opposition Platform. The party decided to support Yuriy Boyko in the future presidential elections: "This is an alternative for all our compatriots who are not satisfied with what is happening in the country."
Earlier, not all Opposition Bloc members were ready to join the union of the opposition forces, but not, in fact, some of them have no other choice (like oligarch Rinat Akhmetov’s wing). So, of course, in the near future, we will still see the accession of other politicians and political forces to the Opposition Platform. The consolidation process has been launched, and those who remain on the sidelines will simply lose the electorate and their political future.
Fourthly, previously, Yuriy Boyko’s rating as a presidential candidate constantly fluctuated at the same level, he did not have any growth prospects as he was associated with only one region; now this problem is solved. The Opposition Platform is associated not only with Boyko himself but also with the For Life party, Vadym Rabinovich and Viktor Medvedchuk. Supporters of Rabinovich and his party could be found all over Ukraine, and Medvedchuk’s authority will help to consolidate a vacillating voter. In order to claim victory in the presidential election, Yuriy Boyko must be a candidate from all of Ukraine, although he relies on its south-east part.
The outlook of the single opposition candidate is very bright; participation in the second round in terms of such a high anti-rating of the current favorites of the race would give good chances for the victory.
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