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Aftertaste of elections: Who was elected to Ukrainian parliament and why?

Author : Natalia Lebed

“People want new things, so they are looking for something young and creative,” political expert Vadym Karasiov said
22:47, 23 July 2019

Open source

Most unexpected Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky seems to have completed another successful act when voters gave his not-tested party's dominant victory,” the British Independent began its article on Ukrainian elections.

Everything is fair in this phrase - the fact that the current president is the most unexpected, and that he really won regular elections (or, in the language of Zelensky, “made” the entire old elite again), and that his party Servant of the People has not yet been tested by time. And it won its victory in advance. The result of the party in single-member constituencies is one of the sensations of the snap parliamentary elections.

Because in the national district, the party rating fell from a maximum of 50 percent to 42.5%, which gave reason to talk about the modest result. But it was not modest. The presidential force conducted the campaign so successful that it can now claim to create a mono-coalition.

New "servants" -  new reality

The result of the Servant of the People in the majoritarian districts is the first thing that any expert who discusses the trends of the current campaign draws attention to.

The victory in almost 50% of the majoritarian districts was completely unexpected. For the first time in the political history of Ukraine, the possibility of creating a one-party majority is laid. And, most likely, it will be one of the signs of a change in the political landscape.

Because the old parties that have entered the parliament now (such as Batkivshchyna), go to the Rada for the last time, ”says Andriy Zolotariov, head of the Third Sector center.

“In the Boguslayiv district, the wedding photographer wins over a person who until then had been an absolute authority in Zaporizhya,” the expert continues, surprised. With rare exceptions, the current politicians or acting MPs managed to hold their mandate, in most cases the old elite lost. The desire for change was stronger than any technology or argument. "

“The powerful representatives of the old political elite are beginning to give way to others,” Zolotariov sums up, identifying the most remarkable feature of the current elections.

“The most unexpected result received the Servant of the People. No one had predicted 247 mandates - along with the opportunity to form a majority. All the experts gave the Servant at best some 220 mandates and said that there would not be enough votes so it will have to form a majority with another party.

Related: What does Ukraine's record-low turnout mean?


But there was a surprise, the Macron version was repeated. The French President Macron in 2017 was able to form a majority in the National Assembly solely on the basis of the Forward, Republic! party, which was also actually created just before the elections and filled with no-known people,” explains the founder of the "Gorshenin Institute" analytical center Kost Bondarenko.

(The Servant of the People can really get 246-247 seats in the parliament. This is indicated, in particular, by the head of the party electoral headquarters Oleksandr Korniyenko. The final figure will be known after one hundred percent of the ballots have been counted.)

One of the most unexpected defeats on majoritarian constituencies was “the loss of Oleksandr Granovsky in Kharkiv,” Bondarenko continues to analyze. “Everything was for his victory, in particular, the technologically advanced campaign.

Or take the loss of Borys Kolesnikov in the Donetsk region - here also all of the sociology showed that he was winning, but something went wrong. In Kyiv, a number of people were considered favorites of the election campaign, but the same Serhiy Leshchenko lost the election.

This is probably a sign of a certain kind of psychosis, which has covered the population of Ukraine and which is the result of events experienced in 2013-2014. And this is quite dangerous, because, as a rule, no less powerful disappointments follow the outstanding hopes,” the expert adds.

Share or not

“I thought that a different motivation would work in the districts, but a party one worked. And the  Servant of the people received, thus, a double bonus that would allow it to form a one-party coalition. But if they call someone to form a majority, then this would be only Holos party.

Because they do not want to stand with Poroshenko, with Medvedchuk, and they are afraid of Tymoshenko, ”says the director of the Global Strategies Institute Vadym Karasiov.

The Independent, already cited above, believes that the second undoubted favorite of the parliamentary elections is Holos of Svyatoslav Vakarchuk. And that the “strong” results of it signify the prospect of creating a coalition of “kindred forces.” Moreover, “the presence of Holos in parliament has removed Zelensky’s big headache - the need for negotiations with the Batkivshchyna party,”  the newspaper notes.

At the same time, “Zelensky’s triumph means that his party will dominate in parliament, and he can become one of the strongest leaders in the history of this geopolitically important former Soviet republic,” writes the Washington Post. But then it calls Holos the most likely coalition partner for the Servant of the People.

And while in Europe and America they are puzzled over what Zelensky will do, there is also a lack of certainty among the winning party. “A draft of the coalition agreement is being written, some things have already been prepared. Then we will look at it: either form a majority independently or discuss it with someone,” the head of the party, Dmytro Razumkov, announces.

In this case, there are little options for Servant of the People party. If we exclude from the list of potential partners all the “old power”, against which Zelensky and his team are so resolutely set up, that is, the Opposition Platform, Batkivschyna, and European Strategy, there will be only one party with which the presidential political force can form a coalition. And this is Holos of Svyatoslav Vakarchuk.

Shariy factor

But there is a conditional winner number three. This is the youngest party of all who participated in the elections. True, it did not take the 5 percent barrier, but easily overcame the 2 and even 3 percent bar. This, of course, is the party of blogger Shariy. “He has already won a million dollars. It is interesting that those who supported state financing of parties did not know that Shariy would get the money,” Zolotariov notes. In general, “Shariy is a change in the technological matrix,” the expert summarizes.

“People want new things, so they are looking for something young and creative. This party has taken votes from the Opposition bloc,” Vadym Karasiov said.

But the Ukrainian Barometer sociological service director Viktor Nebozhenko considers the success of Sharya in relation to the defeat of the national democratic forces. “The biggest failure of the nationalists. If the frivolous Shariy scored more than“ language, faith, army” then this is a significant blow to the political and ideological structure of Ukraine that has developed over the past 25 years. It was a disaster specifically for this segment, which formed the majority under Yushchenko," he says.

And explains why everything happened exactly this way: "Aestheticization of politics replaces common sense. When beautiful images are used instead of specifics. Politics dries out, it becomes entertainment. The population first votes for who entertains it, and then demands seriousness from the elect."

And his colleague Karasiov believes that no matter what the circumstances may be in the near future, the autumn protests traditional for Ukraine should not be expected. “The revolution took place in spring and summer, when Zelensky won. The peaceful electoral revolution of the majority,” he said. Therefore, the quota of public upheavals is now exhausted. At least for the current year.

Related: Q&A: Comedian’s party wins big in Ukraine’s parliamentary plections. Why and what’s next?

Related: Servant of the People gets one-party majority: Why did Ukrainians give power in one's hands?

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